FAQs for Schools


Have a question not answered below? Please contact us and let us know! We’re here to help.

To see program-specific questions and answers, please login to your QuickSmart Portal account and go to the FAQ section of the Private Area.


Program

What are the aims of the QuickSmart Numeracy and Literacy programs?

Click to view answer

The QuickSmart Numeracy and Literacy programs both offer under-achieving students a second chance to become active and confident learners in the classroom.

The aims of the programs include: 

  • to improve the speed, accuracy and understanding of basic mathematics and/or literacy (reading, vocabulary and comprehension) of students in Years 4 to 9.
  • to facilitate students’ active engagement and participation in class and provide a sound foundation for further classroom instruction
  • to enable students to perform at levels comparable with their average- achieving peers on state-wide or standardised tests.

You can read more about the program aims here.

QuickSmart is referred to as a Tier 4 learning intervention program. What does this mean?

Click to view answer

There are four tiers of learning intervention, with the fourth being labelled ‘Intensive School Interventions’. Intensive interventions are individualised and determined by an individual program plan developed for students by a collaborative team. At this tier, outside resources, agencies and diagnostics may be accessed.

The other three tiers in ascending order are:

Tier 1 – Classroom Instruction: “Effective research-based instruction is foundational for success for students and essential when implementing school-based intervention models. Tier 1 honours and recognises the essential work of teachers in the classroom.”

Tier 2 – Classroom Interventions: “Tier 2 interventions are provided to students by the classroom teacher, inclusive in the classroom. By articulating these interventions school-wide, teachers essentially collaborate to share differentiated strategies that work for students.”

Tier 3 – School Interventions: “Tier 3 interventions are supports delivered by professionals other than the classroom teacher. These can be designated to support students across multiple classes and grade levels and ideally are designed to be delivered inclusively in the classroom.”

How do we select which students should be put on the program?

Click to view answer

The QuickSmart programs are aimed at students in years 4 to 9 (middle school). QuickSmart is a Tier 4 intervention program, and the students should be selected from the lowest bands in their year group. A QuickSmart student should:

  • be a low achiever in the areas of literacy and/or numeracy
  • have a good attendance record
  • have average cognitive potential without major attention difficulties
  • display a good attitude towards working in a small group setting
  • display willingness to be part of the program

Students can be identified using results from PATMaths, the PAT-R assessments, NAPLAN, class assessments, or by teacher recommendation. The selection process is explained in more detail at the first workshop.

Primary school students who participate in QuickSmart programs meet the criteria of having:

  • 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.
  • experienced learning difficulties in either English or Mathematics
  • performed in the lowest two or three bands on the NAPLAN assessments;
  • a regular school attendance pattern; and
  • average cognitive potential without major attention difficulties.

When do we start QuickSmart lessons at our school?

Click to view answer

Schools should begin QuickSmart instruction as soon as possible following the completion of the first two-day workshop. Time is needed to prepare the room, select and pair the students, develop the timetable, inform the staff and parents, and undertake testing of all QuickSmart students as part of the pre-test data collection.

When do we finish QuickSmart?

Click to view answer

Students should ideally complete at least 90 QuickSmart lessons over the year. This is sometimes difficult to achieve in the first year and the issue is discussed and clarified at the second workshop. Schools should allow approximately two weeks to complete the post-testing for students at the end of their QuickSmart program.

Can we keep going with QuickSmart after the summer break, if we didn’t have time to finish?

Click to view answer

Yes, students that started the program in one year can continue being instructed in the next year. The Data Upload tool for a particular year is available until the end of August in the following year. Student data should be entered into the Data Upload tool of the year they started the program.

What happens if a student requires support for two years?

Click to view answer

For most students, a total of 90 lessons (delivered as three, thirty-minute lessons per week) is sufficient time to complete QuickSmart. However, there are some students who may require additional help and, hence, a second year on the program.

Our data indicates that those students who do require a second year usually improve at a far greater rate in the second year than was the case in the first year. This situation is addressed in the third workshop.

What can a school expect when running the program?

Click to view answer

QuickSmart offers a new way to address numeracy and literacy problems for students in the bottom 30% of the achievement spectrum.

Accumulated data over the last decades confirm that QuickSmart:

  • offers these students long-term cognitive growth well after they exit the program;
  • improves student attendance rates and class behaviour;
  • effects transcend the targeted cohort and over time Principals report strong school-wide effects.

Can I get in touch with other schools running QuickSmart?

Click to view answer

Absolutely! One of the best ways to find out more about the programs is by talking with our passionate instructors. QuickSmart is run in every Australian state, in primary, central and secondary/high schools, and in all school systems (Government, Catholic, Independent, etc).

If you have a Facebook account, a great place to start is by joining our almost 700-member strong QuickSmart Community Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1689341781378163/ The coordinators, instructors and QuickSmart staff there are more than happy to answer your questions.

QuickSmart staff can also put you in touch with other schools that run QuickSmart in your area, but please be aware that generating this kind of list is a timely process, as any information we release falls into strict parameters, including:

  • if the school publicly states on their website that they run the program;
  • if they have a current QuickSmart licence;
  • if they regularly submit their annual lesson data;
  • the time given to identify QuickSmart schools close to you using Google maps, etc.

To see the QuickSmart space set-up from some of our schools, please click here.


Professional Development

What is involved with QuickSmart professional development?

Click to view answer

In the first year of professional development (referred to as Basic Skills), there are three two-day workshops – a total of six days. These occur at the beginning, the middle and towards the end of the school year. Dates and venues can be viewed on our Professional Development Calendar.

Advanced Skills professional development can be undertaken in the years following Basic Skills completion. The course is spread over three days, which comprises of two consecutive days towards the start of the year and a third day a few months after that.

Who should attend QuickSmart professional development?

Click to view answer

When a school takes up a QuickSmart program for the first time, they can send up to five staff members for all six days of training, plus a school executive (principal, etc) to the first workshop.

The initial five staff members can be executives, teachers, teaching assistants and paraprofessionals. The focus on quality teaching aspects and neuroscience in education means that there is learning and insights for all people involved in improving student learning.

Important: It is critical that the staff member assuming the role of QuickSmart Coordinator, and those intending to be QuickSmart Instructors, attend the entire six days.

Is there recognition for the training?

Click to view answer

Everyone who successfully completes the training is awarded a QuickSmart Certificate. Extensive documentation of the teaching standards addressed for executive members and teachers, and the professional competencies addressed for teaching assistants and paraprofessionals is also included.

The six days of Basic Skills awards 47 hours of unaccredited PD hours and the three days of Advanced Skills awards 18 hours.

What are the registration requirements?

Click to view answer

Attendees must register via an order form (downloaded from our Professional Development calendar) no less than three weeks before a workshop. This enables SiMERR to plan the workshop, arrange venues and catering, send all the required materials and provide all participants with agendas and other digital materials.

Can you tell me more about Basic Skills workshops?

Click to view answer

Please note that this course can only be undertaken by staff from a school that has sent an enrolment form to SiMERR for the relevant year and have been approved to attend. The information below applies to the Numeracy, Literacy and Catch-Up Numeracy courses.

There are six days of workshops to attend in the first year of becoming a QuickSmart instructor. They are implemented in blocks of two days three times a year and are sequential so learning builds throughout the year. The first two days are usually in Term 1, the second two days in Term 2 or 3 and the last two days in Term 3 or 4.

When a school has decided to take on one of the QuickSmart program(s), the selected educators will attend QuickSmart professional development (PD) workshops to become qualified QuickSmart instructors. A QuickSmart instructor can be a teacher, a teacher aide, a learning and support officer, an Aboriginal Education Officer, a librarian or any other person involved with students on a regular basis in the school.

Educators looking to become QuickSmart instructors must attend professional development training. The training is (usually) completed in the first year of implementation. The instructor can start teaching students after attending the first two days of PD. The training is completed alongside the students’ progress in the program.

The professional development program accompanying QuickSmart is focused on supporting QuickSmart instructors to understand and provide:

  • effective instruction that maximises student on-task time, and provides learning scaffolds to ensure students experience improvement and success;
  • focused, fun, and successful practice that is integral to every lesson and involves guided and independent timed practice activities;
  • strategy instruction and concept development;
  • their students with confidence by encouraging a ‘can do’ attitude;
  • appropriate teacher and peer modelling; and
  • motivational academic activities that are used as opportunities for instructional modelling and to develop fluency.

As a consequence of the program and professional development experiences, QuickSmart instructors will learn to:

  • use time as a dimension of learning and practice;
  • incorporate concepts of automaticity (Quick) and accuracy (Smart) regularly in their teaching;
  • structure learning activities to help encourage success;
  • plan to address individual student needs over an extended period;
  • assess and monitor student needs unobtrusively in their teaching programs;
  • create a highly motivational learning environment for students;
  • integrate assessment tasks into each lesson;
  • facilitate learning in a non-competitive environment that focuses on individual improvement; and
  • design and develop activities that improve students’ information processing abilities by freeing up working memory.

During the course of their professional development, instructors will also develop an understanding of how:

  • automaticity requires conceptual understanding and efficient;
  • strategies can be used effectively; and
  • assessment provides ongoing formative information relevant to the progress and design of each individual student’s program.

Participants who complete Basic Skills training will receive a certificate of recognition from the SiMERR National Research Centre at UNE.

Can you tell me more about Advanced Skills workshops?

Click to view answer

Please note that this course can only be undertaken by staff from a school that has sent an enrollment form to SiMERR for the relevant year and have been approved to attend. The information below applies to the Numeracy, Literacy and Catch-Up Numeracy courses.

This course can only be undertaken by participants who have completed the Numeracy Basic Skills course.

The target group for this three-day course is leaders, teachers and school services officers currently involved with QuickSmart who wish to know more about the program and ways to improve further the benefits of the program throughout their school.

Many schools have reported that QuickSmart has been a catalyst for changes across the school, leading to improved learning outcomes for large numbers of students. The sessions offered will serve to enhance the possibility for this to occur. We expect that the program will stretch participants’ thinking and enhance their practice, whether they are leaders, coordinators, teachers or instructors.

In total, the program consists of three days, and comprises two distinct Workshops. The first workshop is a two-day workshop. The second workshop is a one-day workshop. In addition, there will be a small school-based activity developed in collaboration with each participant towards the end of the first Workshop. This will be undertaken during the interval between the two Workshops. Experiences/learnings associated with the agreed activity will be reported at the second Workshop.

In general terms, the aims of the workshops are:

  • To strengthen confidence and knowledge of participants about the role that QuickSmart plays in addressing the differentiated learning needs of students in mathematics and numeracy development.
  • To support the most effective implementation of the QuickSmart Numeracy program.
  • To develop a broader school-wide perspective on student learning needs for those experiencing difficulties in mathematics.
  • To re-energise the work and purpose of QuickSmart in schools, and to help establish enhanced networks of informed practice among schools.

Expected outcomes include:

  • Deeper understanding of the QuickSmart theory of learning and the relevant neuroscience ideas behind the program. Participants will gain more insight about how the brain can impact on students’ learning responses in ways that are supported by the evidence. Participants will come away with strengthened QuickSmart instructional strategies that are linked to practical interpretations of current advances in learning and teaching from a brain perspective.
  • Consolidated knowledge about QuickSmart, reinforcing and extending participants’ thinking behind QuickSmart and their understanding of effective learning of Numeracy/Mathematics
  • Improved small-group and whole-class teaching processes for mathematical fluency and a strengthened repertoire of effective strategies to give feedback and support struggling students.
  • A repertoire of options to cover implementation issues related to QuickSmart Numeracy.
  • Sharing and learning more from other schools using the QuickSmart Numeracy program.

Important ‘big ideas’ in the Advanced Skills Workshops include:

  • Quality teaching and learning approaches used in QuickSmart and being clear about what we mean by ‘quality’ in a QuickSmart Lesson
  • Applying brain research and neuroscience to improve student learning: what are the key ideas, how and where do they fit
  • Exploring what is ‘Learnable’ and how it relates to QuickSmart
  • Updating and extending knowledge of QuickSmart teaching skills: examining intentional (deliberate) practice and its place in learning and QuickSmart
  • Examining important features of mathematics learning and teaching through QuickSmart
  • Reviewing important education ideas linked to QuickSmart
  • Considering underpinning ideas in QuickSmart problem solving.

These ‘big ideas’ are built on in different ways at each workshop.

Most sessions entail information input. However, this will be interactive. There will also be opportunities for collaborative group work around fundamental ideas. Participants are encouraged to bring their current issues and stories concerning QuickSmart to the workshop.

By the end of the 3 days, participants should have a deeper knowledge to answer the following ‘big’ questions:

  • Why does the QuickSmart approach work, for whom does it work and how does it work?
  • How does QuickSmart effectively engage learners? What are associated benefits that are learnable through QuickSmart?
  • What is the relationship between progress in QuickSmart and growth in mathematics?
  • In what ways can we address any student, teacher and parent attitudes and misconceptions about what it means to attend QuickSmart and be ‘successful’ at mathematics?
  • How can we use student participation and progress data more effectively and responsively to promote QuickSmart, implement the program, monitor progress and adjust targets? How do we get the right balance between ‘quick’ and ‘smart’?
  • Do we have any outstanding issues related to implementing an effective QuickSmart Numeracy intervention program in our school?

Participants who complete Advanced Skills training will receive a certificate of recognition from the SiMERR National Research Centre at UNE.

Can you tell me more about Refresher sessions?

Click to view answer

  • This is a one-day workshop. It is a mix of presenter-led information sharing, and participant-led discussion and feedback sessions.
  • The course can only be undertaken by participants who have completed the relevant Basic Skills course no less than three years previously.

Can you tell me more about Leaders’ Seminars?

Click to view answer

  • This is a one-day information session for school executives to learn more about the QuickSmart Program.
  • The course can only be undertaken by school executives from a school that has sent an enrollment form to SiMERR for the relevant year and have been approved to attend.

Can you tell me more about Refresher sessions?

Click to view answer

  • This is a one-day information session for program coordinators to learn more about managing the QuickSmart Programs
  • The course can only be undertaken by program coordinators who have completed the relevant Basic Skills course.

Fees

Is there a yearly fee for running QuickSmart at a school?

Click to view answer

No. The only recurring cost is the renewal of the OZCAAS Licence, which comes up every three years.

Is there a maxiumum number of students that are covered by the QuickSmart fee?

Click to view answer

No. For data collection purposes we recommend a minimum of six students, but in small schools this may not be achievable. There is no maximum number of students that a school can place on the program. We want to encourage schools to include as many students in need as possible.

Do I need to pay extra to install the OZCAAS program on several computers?

Click to view answer

No. Multiple downloads are allowed with your school licence.

What other expenses are there?

Click to view answer

Other school expenses that are not included in the program fee are photocopying of worksheets, purchasing of student folders for each participant, and the purchase of additional computers and microphones if using more than one workstation.

After each workshop each school is asked to contribute $30 per person per day towards catering and venue hire costs incurred by SiMERR. In an effort to keep the program cost as low as possible, this is a pro rata contribution.

What are SiMERR’s services included in the fee?

Click to view answer

QuickSmart was developed and is administered by the SiMERR National Research Centre, a not-for profit research centre, based at the University of New England. It is a programmatic research program that commenced in 2001. All sites that implement the QuickSmart program become part of the research model and there is the expectation that pre- and post-data on student performance will be collected, analysed and reported.

We offer administrative and professional support from 9am to 5pm (EST), five days a week, and IT support from 10am-2pm, Monday to Thursday.

The total price of QuickSmart is an all-inclusive cost for:

  • the program;
  • the professional development (six days for up to five staff);
  • data analysis;
  • school report;
  • extensive resource materials;
  • a three-year software licence;
  • direct support of your school’s QuickSmart instructors by our staff; and
  • ongoing phone and online professional and technical support.

School Administration

What are the roles within the QuickSmart team at a school?

Click to view answer

  • QuickSmart Executive: This is a school executive who has overall oversight of the program. This person chairs team meetings (maybe once a term or once a semester), oversees program implementation and data collection, addresses implementation concerns where possible, supports staff involved in QS (especially in relation to other staff), oversees financial details, and if applicable, communicates with Regional/Diocese Cluster Officer and Region/Diocese Director.
  • QuickSmart Coordinator: A teacher takes on this role and is responsible for managing the day-to-day issues, as well as mentoring Instructors, preparing the program timetable, overseeing the testing, and assisting with the reports for the second and third workshop. It is valuable if the coordinator is able to take a pair of QuickSmart students over the year.
  • QuickSmart Instructors: These staff-members provide the lessons to students and are made up of both teachers and teacher assistants.

What infrastructure is needed in the school to run QuickSmart?

Click to view answer

A school needs a room or private area specifically for QuickSmart, with enough space for at least one workstation. A workstation involves a desk, three chairs, shelving (for worksheets and student folders), storage space for the games pack and resource kit, and a Windows-based computer with a microphone (a microphone is supplied when a school purchases the program).

Some schools can accommodate five workstations in a traditional classroom. In such cases, ten students and five QS Instructors can be working at any one time. Some schools also include a white board for extended activities and wall space to celebrate student success.

What staff time is involved in QuickSmart?

Click to view answer

We typically recommend a minimum of 12 students (6 pairs) to undertake QuickSmart at a school. The reason for this minimum has to do with sample size in the data analysis for a school. Of course, this number is not possible in some small schools, and we accept this.

The staff commitment of a QS Instructor for twelve students is a minimum of ten hours a week (6 times 1.5 hours equals 9 hours, plus one hour for preparation). There is no maximum to the number of students a school can enrol in any one year.

There will need to be some time allocation for QuickSmart Coordinators, unless it is built into their role expectation.

What resources are provided to a school to run QuickSmart?

Click to view answer

A school receives the following resources at the first workshop:

  • Flashcard Kit
  • Games pack (Numeracy only)
  • Resources and Organisation folder that contains masters for the paper resources required to run the QuickSmart lessons
  • Sample Student Folder
  • QuickSmart User Guide
  • Microphone
  • Three-year Private Area/OZCAAS licence

Is it possible to purchase additional kits and materials?

Click to view answer

Yes, additional kits and materials can be ordered through the QuickSmart Portal site once a school joins the program.


Technical

How do we get access to the OZCAAS software?

Click to view answer

To gain access to the OZCAAS software, each school must formally register for QuickSmart and confirm attendance at Workshop One. Approximately two weeks before the first workshop day an email will be sent with login details for the QuickSmart Portal site. Schools will then gain access to the QuickSmart Private Area that contains many QuickSmart-related resources, including a downloadable copy of the latest version of the OZCAAS software.

On the download page are detailed instructions on how to download OZCAAS onto a Windows laptop. This should be done prior to the first workshop, and the school team should bring the laptop with them to the workshop. There, they will learn to use the software.

What happens to OZCAAS and our access to the Private Area at the end of three years?

Click to view answer

If your school does not renew, you will lose access to the Private Area, and OZCAAS will stop working. Your school can renew its licence by submitting a Renewal Form.

I have heard about an online version of QuickSmart. Where can I find more information about this?

Click to view answer

You can read about the QuickSmart Online Numeracy application here.


Testimonials from Principals

“The QuickSmart program has been instrumental in improving the [cognitive] capacity of some of our students… …the educational benefits of the program are immense. It is wonderful to see the children’s confidence and competence increase…” – School Principal, Melbourne

“I’ve used a number of intervention programs and I think the beauty of QuickSmart is that it works with a computer which monitors student’s progress really carefully. It gives students a lot of feedback.” – School Principal

“The QS Program has once again been instrumental in improving the numeracy capacity of some of our students. It has really been wonderful to see a growth in their confidence, knowledge and ability.” – School Principal, Melbourne

“Children are always keen to go to QuickSmart. Parents note children talking about their work in the program. Teacher feedback has been very positive.” – School Principal