Overview: The QuickSmart Numeracy intervention program focuses on understanding and recall of basic number facts, performance of elementary calculations, acquisition of appropriate mathematics language, and problem-solving skills. The primary aim of QuickSmart is for the students to develop automaticity. QuickSmart lessons emphasise the development of conceptual understanding. Conceptual understanding is ensured by explicitly teaching strategies that emphasise the key concepts underpinning the academic skills being taught.
QuickSmart was awarded highest ratings in the field of Education on research Engagement and Impact by the Australian Research Council (ARC) in its national assessment of research contribution to the broader community and the economy.
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Numeracy Program Description
Lessons feature both structured and incidental strategy instruction, with the aim of moving students on from relying on slow and error-prone strategies (especially count-by-one strategies), to the use of more sophisticated and efficient strategies, including automatic recall.
Each lesson involves the teaching 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. Once the program is established, at least one lesson a week focuses on problem-solving strategies and activities.
Numeracy Lesson Structure
The QuickSmart Numeracy program consists of three 30-minute lessons per week for 30 weeks (SiMERR strongly recommends at least 90 lessons in total). Students work in pairs for lessons with the same instructor. Where possible, the pairings of students match individuals with similar learning obstacles in 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.
QuickSmart Numeracy intervention strategies include a variety of short, focused activities that aim to increase students’ strategy use and improve their automatic recall of basic number facts across all four operations. Mathematics intervention sessions include opportunities to consolidate the use of strategies for calculating number facts and the use of a prompt scaffold to solve mathematical problems and establish knowledge of problem-solving routines. Each lesson is structured as follows:
QuickSmart mathematics lessons begin with a review of the current set of Focus Number Facts. In this initial review, students are encouraged to demonstrate their understanding of the required processes by discussing and explaining the strategies they are using. If students do not display reasonably proficient understandings, then QuickSmart instructors use lesson time to develop the learners’ understanding to the level where they are proficient enough to benefit from practice.
Other lesson elements include:
- Flash Cards are used to assist students to develop automatic recall;
- Speed sheets relate to the same set of focus facts and include extension number facts;
- Independent Worksheets: Students practise their skills independently on carefully selected worksheets that are closely related to the lesson content;
- Testing on tasks from the QBSA (OZCAAS) bank of mathematical tasks*; and
- Games, which were developed to complement each set of focus facts and allow students to review and consolidate their learning in a motivating way.
*Tasks generally used to assess and instruct the QuickSmart mathematics group in QBSA (OZCAAS) include:
- addition number facts;
- subtraction number facts;
- multiplication number facts;
- division number facts; and
- triple addition tasks (for example, 7 + 4 + 3).