Arithmetika sticky star work plans

Introduction

Arithmetika formative assessment tasks are the ideal way to reinforce the skills you have patiently offered to your students, and to inform you of their progress. The tasks are uncompromisingly as close as it is possible to get to traditional paper- based tasks, without you having to do all the marking.

Arithmetika recognises that many teachers do not have the time to select tasks and assign them individually, let alone mark them, so a range of pre-set 'work plans' have been put together. A work plan is a sequence of batches of tasks with each batch having five tasks. A student is awarded a bronze star for each completed batch (100% in all five tasks). Five bronze stars become one silver star, five silver becomes a gold star, and so on through platinum to diamond.

Every task has all the features that make Arithmetika assessment stand out from the crowd. Every question requires a proper mathematical answer, not just multiple choice selection or questions where half the answer (units, rounding issues, brackets etc. is not checked). Each instance of every task has different numbers in the questions and questions in a different order.

WorkPlans

Mental Agility with number

The first work plan addresss the issue of mental agility with number. Many mathematics educators believe that student progress in mathematical understanding is hindered by poor mental arithmetic skills. This issue was dealt with in the past by a good deal of rote learning and repetition. OK, that has has a bad press, but no matter how the issue is addressed, it remains an issue.

The Mental Agility work plan sets a bar at the level of mental agility with number expected of students commencing Year 7. All tasks are expected to be completed without a calculator, and are timed. For instance, one of the tasks in the first batch is 20 questions from the ten times table, to be answered in two minutes. A later task will put 20 questions from the ten times table to be answered in one minute.

Number Skills

The second work plan focuses on the number skills students will be taught in the Year 7 Australian Curriculum - fraction and decimal operations, negative numbers, some number properties. Where appropriate, students may use a calculator to help complete some of these tasks.

Students who already have got Mental Agility can start at this level, and any student who has completed the Mental Agility work plan will automatically continue on to the Number Skills work plan without any intervention from the teacher.

Australian Curriculum

From this point on each work plan aligns with the Australian Curriculum, so there is one work plan for each of Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 and Year 10A.

Again, students who already have got an excellent grasp of the skills in the earlier work plans can start on any of the Australian Curriculum work plans., and any student completing any work plan automatically moves up to the next work plan without any intervention from the teacher.

Benefits for students

Some students will progress rapidly. Those that don't can be monitored. For instance, if they are stuck on a particular batch the teacher can ascertain if the student needs help or just encouragement. Some will finish in a term, some might still not finish within a year. All useful feedback!

How teachers use work plans

  • You select a ready-made work plan
    • Mental agility
    • Number skills
    • Australian Curriculum Year 7
    • Other work plans in the pipe line
  • You assign the work plan to one or classes
    • You set your end-date etc. (optional)
    • Decide whether you want students who join the class(es) later to be assigned the work plan automatically
    • Select at least one class even if it has no students yet
    • Select/deselect students in the selected class(es)
  • When you hit the 'Assign ...' button, each work plan will be assiged to each selected class. Students will see initially the tasks in the first batch only.
  • As soon as each student completes all the tasks in each batch s/he is awarded a 'sticky star' of recognition and is assiged the next batch of tasks
  • Nothing else for you to do except monitor their progress and use the information to support your teaching!

Example work plans and tasks