QuickSmart Numeracy is a 30-week math tutoring program from Australia that uses teaching assistants as tutors. Its goal is to increase basic math fact automaticity/fluency in students in Year 4 and Year 8 who perform in the bottom third of their national cohort as measured on standardized testing, the premise being that increased math fluency allows students to devote their concentration to math concepts instead of fact recall. Researchers from the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia, recently examined the effects of the program on student achievement in a randomized controlled trial.
Subjects were 288 Year 4 and Year 8 students from 70 classrooms in 23 Sydney Catholic Schools in New South Wales who scored below the bottom 30th percentile on national standardized testing. Baseline testing was done in March 2017 using the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) Progressive Achievement Test – Mathematics (PAT-M), with post-testing in May 2018, six months after the intervention ended in December 2017. There were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups at pretest. Randomization among students who qualified for tutoring was done in each class, with all students attending regular math class and pairs of experimental students being pulled from other classes to also receive QuickSmart tutoring three times a week for a half hour for 30 weeks.
- There was a non-significant difference (E.S. = +0.08) favoring the experimental group in Year 4.
- The difference favoring Year 8 was also non-significant (E.S. = +0.01).
- However, the program had significant positive effects on students’ math self-concepts (E.S. = +0.30) and interest in math (E.S. = +0.47).
Authors noted that not all of the students received the targeted hours of tutoring due to recruitment and testing processes.
Source (Open Access): Drew, A., Gore, J., Harris, J., Prieto-Rodriguez, E., Fray, L.,… & Taggart, W. (2019). QuickSmart Numeracy: Learning Impact Fund evaluation report. Retrieved from https://evidenceforlearning.org.au/assets/QuickSmart/QuickSmart-Numeracy-Evaluation-Report.pdf