FAQs


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 school account and go to the FAQ section of the Private Area.


Program

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

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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.

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

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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.


Professional Development

What is involved with QuickSmart professional development?

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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?

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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?

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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.

SiMERR/QuickSmart is endorsed to provide NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at the Proficient Teacher level.

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

What are the registration requirements?

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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.


Fees

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

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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?

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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?

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No. Multiple downloads are allowed with your school licence.

What other expenses are there?

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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?

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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?

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  • 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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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Yes, additional kits and materials can be ordered through the QuickSmart Administration application on the Dashboard once a school joins the program.


Technical

How do we get access to the OZCAAS software?

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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 that contains a QuickSmart Dashboard registration code. Schools will then create an account to 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?

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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.