QuickSmart – Every student has the potential to do better!
The primary aim of the QuickSmart intervention is to increase a student's accuracy and automaticity of basic academic skills. QuickSmart lessons emphasise the development of conceptual understanding by explicitly teaching strategies that emphasise the key concepts underpinning the academic skills being taught.
In the QuickSmart Numeracy lessons, for example, students are explicitly taught strategies that develop their understanding of key concepts such as place value. QuickSmart Numeracy lessons aim to develop, for example, a student's general number sense - the ability to identify and use number patterns, the understanding of the meanings of and relationships between the different operations, etcetera. These strategies are discussed explicitly and inform all the practice exercises completed by the learners.
Numeracy and Literacy
QuickSmart is available in two programs - Numeracy and Literacy.
The QuickSmart programs are based on research related to the importance of specific component skills in literacy and numeracy. Students who develop fluency and confidence in these basic skills have access to more cognitive resources to direct to the higher-order processes involved in reading meaningfully and being able to solve problems in mathematics.
QuickSmart Numeracy students focus on understanding and recall of basic number facts, the performance of elementary calculations, acquisition of appropriate mathematics language, and problem-solving skills. Learn More ►
- timed recall of basic number facts from a targeted set of focus number facts;
- speed sheets that also relate to the same set of focus facts and include extension number facts;
- opportunities to consolidate the use of strategies for calculating number facts;
- the use of a prompt scaffold to solve mathematical problems and establish knowledge of problem-solving routines; and
- regular testing on tasks from the CAAS bank of mathematical tasks.
QuickSmart Literacy students focus on automaticity of word recognition, fluency in reading connected texts, and development of vocabulary. Learn More ►
- timed flashcard activities based on a set of focus words selected from a target text;
- vocabulary activities;
- repeated readings of the target text to improve a student's reading fluency;
- scaffolded use of comprehension strategies;
- reading games designed to consolidate a student's word recognition and word meaning knowledge; and
- regular testing on selected tasks from the OZCAAS.
Structure of the Program
In both programs QuickSmart consists of 30-minute lessons three times a week for 30 weeks. Students work in pairs for lessons with the same instructor. Where possible, the pairings of students match individuals with similar learning obstacles in either reading or numeracy. An experienced teacher or teacher aide, who has been trained in the principles and structure of a QuickSmart lesson, delivers the program under the general supervision of a trained teacher.
Each lesson involves teaching of number facts, a number of guided, deliberate practice activities featuring overt self-talk, discussion and practice of memory and retrieval strategies, timed speed sheet activities followed by independent practice activities, and an educational game.Click here for a Numeracy sample lesson.
Outcomes and Results
Independent (federal, state-wide or standardised tests) assessments gathered from QuickSmart and comparison students over fourteen years consistently show that QuickSmart students make substantial academic improvement. Research data collected across Australia from over 40,000 QuickSmart students report:
- effect-size results of 0.60 to 0.94 that translate into growth of two- to three-years in one year when compared to the gains made by average-achieving students. (An effect size of 0.3 represents the expected yearly average growth for non-QuickSmart students.) In terms of an individual student's growth this improvement can be as high as a factor of 7; Learn More ►
Effect Size is used to show growth or improvement associated with a teaching program. In general, Effect Size statistics can be understood based on the work of Hattie (Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge) such that:
- Effect Sizes below 0.2 are considered poor, with an appropriate range of growth over an academic year for a student cohort established as within the range of 0.2 to 0.4;
- Effect Size scores of 0.4 to 0.6 are considered strong;
- Effect Sizes between 0.6 and 0.8 are considered very strong; and
- Effect Size scores above 0.8 represent substantial improvement of the order of approximately three years' growth.
- substantial improvement on standardised test results in the first year of implementation that increases, and sometimes doubles, during the second year of implementation as schools and instructors become more experienced;
- academic gains are maintained or enhanced in subsequent years; and, Download document
- Indigenous students receive great benefit from the program, with their results mirroring those of non-Indigenous students, and reports indicating increased student engagement in class and improvements in school attendance. Download document
Verbal and written comments from principals, teachers, teacher aides and parents confirm the positive impact of the QuickSmart programs.
SiMERR produces an annual report of students' outcomes for both the Numeracy and Literacy programs. The 2014 QuickSmart Numeracy Program Report analyses data of nearly 8,000 QuickSmart and comparison students reporting outcomes for all students, female students and indigenous students – the Literacy Program reports similar data. Each report provides a compelling story for schools seeking to support students who fall below national benchmarks.
QuickSmart is designed mainly for students performing at or below minimum standards. Poor results on national skills tests, below average results in school or class administered tests, and teacher observations help determine which students are most likely to benefit from the QuickSmart program. Students who experience a lack of confidence in participating in classroom activities may also improve their performance when given the opportunity to be part of a focused QuickSmart program.
Following the first QuickSmart training workshop, schools administer a PAT test (an Australian Centre for Educational Research (ACER) product) to students that they may wish to include in the program. Most schools select students whose test results place them in Stanine 1 to 3, with comparison students drawn from Stanine 4.
Other criteria that guide student selection include:
Primary School Students ►
- experienced persistent difficulty in either reading or numeracy;
- displayed a good attitude to working in small groups; and
- average cognitive potential without major attention difficulties.
Secondary School Students ►
- experienced learning difficulties in either English or Mathematics
- performed in the lowest two or three bands on the State-wide Year 7 screening tests;
- a regular school attendance pattern; and
- average cognitive potential without major attention difficulties.
QuickSmart in Schools
Instruction and Coordination
QuickSmart schools predominantly equip support staff to provide instruction to students. A qualified teacher coordinates the program and provides ongoing professional support to the instructors. A member of the school executive would generally supervise the program.
For 12 students (6 pairs) the staff commitment of a QuickSmart Instructor is a minimum of ten hours a week, i.e., 6 x 3 x 30min = 9 hours, plus one hour for preparation. It is also necessary to allocate some time for the QuickSmart Coordinator.
A room or private area set aside for QuickSmart lessons must include at least one workstation. A workstation involves a desk with a computer, a microphone (supplied as part of the QuickSmart resources) and three chairs plus storage for worksheets, student folders, the games pack and resource kit. Some schools have accommodated five workstations in a traditional classroom. In such cases, ten students and five QuickSmart Instructors would be working at any one time. Many schools also include a white board for extended activities and wall display space to celebrate student success.
Photocopying of worksheets is necessary, as is the purchase of a student folder for each student. There are also some costs associated with parent involvement (e.g., morning tea), and the purchase of additional microphones if using more than one workstation.
Professional Learning Demands on Staff
The QuickSmart professional learning involves six days in the first year made up of three two-day workshops. Workshop 1 is typically held in Term 1, and Workshops 2 and 3 are conducted at three to four month intervals after the preceding workshop. Advanced-skills QuickSmart training is also offered in the second year and involves three days of workshops.
Who Should Attend the Training
QuickSmart workshops are targeted at a broad audience. It is common to have present at workshops: teachers; support staff; school executive members; system representatives; specialist teachers and consultants. School executive staff are strongly encouraged to attend the workshops to familiarise themselves with the support requirements of the program and equip themselves to enhance the effective implementation of the program. Please note that QuickSmart Instructors in your school do not have to be qualified teachers.
Schools are invited to send up to five staff members to the professional development series, with a recommended minimum of three to facilitate shared learning and cater for staff turnover. Additional places may be offered depending on the total number of participants and the capacity of the workshop venue. All staff who will be working on the QuickSmart program should attend all three workshops.
QuickSmart training is usually conducted for clusters of schools to help contain costs. SiMERR staff members attempt to place clusters strategically so that it minimises travel for schools and encourages networking and professional support links between the schools implementing QuickSmart.
Recognition for Training
All staff members who successfully complete the QuickSmart workshops are awarded a QuickSmart Certificate. Extensive documentation of the teaching standards addressed is provided for trained teachers. Documentation of the professional competencies addressed is detailed for non teacher-trained staff.
Click here to view a sample teacher certificate
Click here to view a sample teacher professional development acknowledgement
Click here to view a sample paraprofessional certificate
Click here to view a sample paraprofessional professional development acknowledgement
To view program costs, click here
QuickSmart Resource Materials
Most of the materials required to implement the QuickSmart programs are provided in the kits. The kits for both programs include administrative and organisational information and teaching/learning resources. In addition, QuickSmart provides the OZCAAS software for ongoing assessment throughout the duration of the QuickSmart programs. Learn More
HelpDesk – Educational and IT Support
SiMERR offers educational program and IT support by phone and email, five days a week.
Newsletter and Social Media
QuickSmart schools are encouraged to submit pre- and post-test program data for participating and comparison students to SiMERR for analysis. Each school that submits data receives an annual report detailing the performance of students as a group, on OZCAAS tests and standardised tests measuring improvement e.g. speed and accuracy from pre-test to post-test intervention and a comparison of this improvement to those of average students over the same time period.