I have completed the test, now what?

Once you have completed your test, the written section needs to be sent to the tutor. Most families do this by taking a photo of the written test on the phone and then emailing the photo to their tutor.

Our tutors typically take one to two working days to process the tests. In the meanwhile, you can continue to work on modules from the next cycle by clicking on the link to the next cycle near the middle of your homepage.

My child is getting work that is too easy.

Maths Pathway allocates work based on their diagnostic tests. This adaptive testing allows Maths Pathway to determine what your child already knows and what they are ready to learn next. When your child appears to be getting work that is too easy, there are 2 possible explanations.

  1. Your child made silly mistakes when doing the diagnostic tests. This can happen if the student is not encouraged sufficiently to try to get as much right on the diagnostic tests as they can or perhaps they were just tired or distracted during the test.
  2. Your child has a gap in their learning which the diagnostic test has identified.

If you believe your child has made careless errors on the diagnostic tests, there are several ways to solve it:

  • Your child can quickly review the module and mark it as mastered. This will put the module on the next test and, if it mastered on the test, it will remove the module from work to be completed.
  • Your child can select “Stop” after opening the module and then select “I can already do this work”. This will trigger a miniature diagnostic test on the concept presented in the module. If your child passes the mini diagnostic test, the module will be marked as mastered.
    Note: You can only use this option a few times. After that, the option will disappear and will need to do the diagnostic retest discussed below.
  • Where there are quite a number of silly mistakes on diagnostic tests, a diagnostic retest can be requested. A diagnostic retest will ask questions on all the topics that the student had incorrect on their original diagnostic tests.
    Note: For a student who has already completed all of their diagnostic tests, the diagnostic retest can take a long time. It may need a couple of sessions for them to complete it.

Tutor Notes

Tutor Instructions

Maths Pathway is based on a mastery model of learning. This means the student is only considered to have mastered a topic when they are able to achieve a perfect result on their test related to that topic. There are 2 aspects of mastery considered on the test.

  1. Being able to produce the correct answer to a question on the topic.
  2. Being able to use correct thinking, laying out and logical processes in achieving an answer.

The Maths Pathway online test is very good at determining whether a student can produce the correct answer, but is poor at testing thinking, laying out and logical processes. This is the reason why Maths Pathway has a written test as well as an online test that is reviewed by the classroom teacher. As you have opted for level 2 access, you do not have the ability to generate written tests.

It is up to the tutor, therefore, to determine that the student has achieved the 2nd aspect of mastery. In the absence of a written test, we suggest that you check each module after the student has completed it before allowing the student to mark it off as mastered. The points you should check are as follows:

  • All workbook answers are correct and match closely the processes shown in the module answers.
  • Any time a question has been marked as incorrect, the question has been completely redone.

Note
Level 1 accounts include written tests. These tests are done by the students at home and a photo of the test page is emailed to the Learning About Learning tutor. The tutor marks the written test and provides appropriate feedback based on the second aspect of mastery above. This frees the home tutor of having to monitor each module so closely. You can email support@learningaboutlearning.com.au if you want to request transfer to a level 1 account

Test Reflections

Maths Pathway has a test reflection step built into the process of the learning cycle. This step can seem trivial to the home user but it is perhaps the most important step for your child to become ‘good at maths’.

Maths Pathway has determined that one of the biggest barriers to students doing maths well is not their underlying maths ability. Rather it is the approach they take to learning in general and maths in particular. Moving a student from a poor approach to learning to a good one is the paramount reason for introducing a test reflection into the learning cycle.

In a school, the test reflection usually involved sitting down briefly with the teacher and thinking about what worked well in the last cycle and what could improve. None of this discussion involves going over the mistakes in the test. It is all about what the student did during the cycle to help them learn the maths and determining something they can try to improve on in the next cycle.

A good example of this comes from a common behaviour pattern in students where the students do not correct their work or fail to redo a question that is wrong. The result is nearly always that the student does poorly on the next test. Here is how the reflection session with a teacher would go:

  • The student, with their workbook in hand, sits down with the teacher.
  • The teacher views their test result and inspects their workbook.  (At this point the teacher will have seen that student hasn’t corrected or redone incorrect answers.)
  • The student is given a chance to comment on their own learning (it is better if the student can reflect well on their own learning if they can).
  • Through this discussion it is agreed that the workbook hasn’t been done well and that there might be a link between that and the poor test result.
  • Together the teacher and student set a learning goal for the next cycle and write it down. E.g. “I will make sure that I correct after each question and redo the question if I get it wrong.”
  • After the next cycle of learning, the teacher and student review the goal from the last cycle and compare the test results to see if it has made a difference to the results. If it has made a difference, the focus can change to a new goal. If it hasn’t made a difference, the goal may need to be modified and tried again in the next cycle.

Using this approach, the student has good feedback from the test on whether the strategy has been successful. If it has been successful, the student is highly motivated to continue the practice. A couple of important things to note about reflections:

  • For a student, who has a poor attitude to maths, it is important to check regularly during the cycle to remind them to keep to their goal.
  • Remember to praise a student who has made an effort to complete the goal. Even if the goal is not successful in improving the results, the student has learnt something.
  • It is best to focus on one goal at a time. Trying to do too many things at once makes it very hard to to all the things well.
  • Goals are equally applicable to students who are doing well on their maths. The idea is that they learn what needs to happen to be a good learning. These skills are then available to them through the rest of their lives.

There is nothing in the reflection process that requires specialist teacher skills. It can be done just as well by parents. There is an article here that outlines the 3 biggest practices that will make a difference to learning. It is a good place to start.

3 hacks to ace maths

3 Hacks to ace maths

Maths Pathway is brilliant at giving you the right maths for you at the right time and it has great tools and videos to help you when you are struggling. But to do really well and become better at maths there are some things that you must do, whether you are using Maths Pathway or another program. Follow these 3 hacks and you will be amazed at how much your results improvewink.

  1. Always use the following method when doing your maths work:
    • Do just one question.
    • Check the answer.
    • If you got the answer wrong, work out what went wrong, and do the question again. Do not go on until you have completed this step.

      Note: This works because it prevents you from making the same mistake over and over (which is what happens when you correct your work at the end). When we do the same thing over and over it starts to stick in the brain and it is hard to undo. People are also very unlikely to go back and redo questions if they wait until the end before checking their work.
  2. Do your work neatly in your workbook.
    Students who do their work in a messy way also tend to make a lot more mistakes when the maths gets a bit harder. This is because numbers, columns, and marks become confused. It also makes it very hard for you to work out where you went wrong and, if you can’t work out where you have gone wrong, then you can’t learn from it.
  3. Do every question.
    Maths Pathway modules are crafted by maths experts. The questions are designed to give you the right amount of work for you to master and remember the concept being taught. Each question you skip weakens this learning.

 

 

Completing Tests

The main way we confirm that a student has truly mastered their understanding of the maths that they learn is through the test that they complete every fortnight. This test will be managed by your coordinator, so really all you need to do is sit tight and wait for instructions.

Tests are generated on every second Monday. When it’s time for the test, you will see a “start test” link on you timeline. Follow the instructions to complete the written and online portion of your test.

Once the student completes the online test, it will be automatically marked. Once they complete the printed questions, just scan or take a photo of the test and email it back to your coordinator. They will mark it and let you know when it’s done – that will allow the student to complete their reflection online.

It usually takes 1 to 2 working days for the coordinator to process the test. While you are waiting for the test to come back you can continue to work on modules. You can do this by clicking on the link to the next cycle near the middle of the home page.

Don’t worry if that sounds complicated – each step will be very obvious as you go through it.

Why don’t you just do all the tests online?

To get a true sense of a student’s abilities and understanding, some things are much better assessed through description or drawing. This allows us to ensure that students have a real understanding of their maths, rather than just learning formulas off by heart.

Completing a module

Completing a Module

Completing work is easy. The most important thing is to answer all questions in a workbook and use the solutions at the bottom of the activity to check your answer. If you get an answer wrong, work out where you went wrong and then redo the question. Click the “Help” button if you get stuck.

 When you’ve completed all the questions in your workbook, just click the Finish button:

This tells the system that you have completed all the questions.

When you do your next checkpoint test, there will be a few questions from this module on that test.

 That’s it! Just keep working a bit each day until you get up to your first test.

Accessing your work

Accessing your work

Once you’ve completed the diagnostic, it’s time to get some work done.

You’ll complete a certain amount of work every fortnight. At the end of the fortnight, there will be a checkpoint that tests whether you understood what you did. To get started, click the big blue “Start new activity” button:

 

  • You’ll be taken to your Learning Map, where you will see various colours of gems – we call each bit of the gem “modules”:
  • Choose an available (blue) module, and click “Start Module”.Once you’ve completed the diagnostic, it’s time to get some work done.

    You’ll complete a certain amount of work every fortnight. At the end of the fortnight, there will be a checkpoint that tests whether you understood what you did. To get started, click the big blue “Start new activity” button:

    • You’ll be taken to your Learning Map, where you will see various colours of gems – we call each bit of the gem “modules”:
    • Choose an available (blue) module, and click “Start Module”.

Getting Started

Getting Started

Now that you’ve got access to the program, your child can get started right away. The first thing they’re going to do is a “diagnostic” – This tells the system what types of maths they can do already, and what they can’t do yet. This is a really important step because it forms the basis for the work we give them next. So, follow these simple rules when you do it:

  • Don’t guess. If you don’t know an answer, just skip the question. If you guess, you’re more likely to end up with work you can’t do later.
  • No calculators. The point of the diagnostic is not to check if you can push buttons, but how well you know different types of maths. You’ll get to use calculators later.
  • Use a pen and paper for working out. You can work out problems or try things on pen and paper while you’re doing the questions – in fact, you’ll be doing that a lot in the future anyway, so you might as well start now smile
  • Don’t panic. Nothing bad will happen if you get questions wrong. This is all just to get information about what you know. There’s no score or grade at the end.

Note: It will sometimes happen that you will need to do the second diagnostic test before you can access your work. This means you have answered just about everything correctly on the first test and now we need to test on some harder maths. To get a code to do the second diagnostic, send an email request to support@learningaboutlearning.com.au.

 Now, let’s get going.

  1. Use the URL and account information that was emailed to you in the ‘Welcome email’.
  2. Click on your student name and type in your password.
  3. Answer the questions. Remember to use the tips from earlier! When you’re done, come back and check out Accessing your work.

 The diagnostic tests do not have a time limit. It is okay to take a break and come back to it if it is taking too long. They take around 45 minutes to complete but the time can vary widely depending on what your child already knows.

Are you paying for poor tutoring?

Are you paying for poor tutoring?

 

Maths tutoring is expensive and you may be paying for something that looks good but only provides surface help.

I was speaking to a parent during the week. They had been told that their child was having problems with maths. Being concerned, they contacted a local provider of tutoring who ran some tests and informed them that their child had problems with multiplication and division. It all sounds reasonable, right? When they told me this, alarm bells started to ring. Here’s why.

 Mathematics is an involved subject that builds on foundations of deep understanding of mathematical concepts. You can find out more about what is involved for multiplication here. When a child struggles with mathematics, it is because that deep understanding is poor and it is this understanding that should be addressed by the tutor. Being reported as having problems with multiplication and division likely means that little more has been assessed than following multiplication and division processes.

 A process is a set of steps that one learns to get to an answer (like following a recipe). You do not need a deep understanding of maths concepts to follow a process, you just memorise the steps. This type of maths learning is shallow. Students who learn in this way rarely manage to reach any higher levels of mathematics.

 For the tutoring service, there is a huge win here. Drilling the process will mean that the student results will go up. This will give the appearance of the tutoring service being very effective in getting results. It also means they can get away with having tutors who are poorly experienced in the teaching of mathematics (undergraduates commonly work in such places), after all, they only have to teach a set of steps.

To be fair, this particular organization may have better plans in place, but my experience is that most tutoring companies rely on the more shallow, cheaper approach and the report given to that parents points towards such an approach.

 If you are worried that you are paying good money for poor tutoring, I suggest you sign in to do an online assessment with us. It is currently free and you will get an in-depth report as to where your child is succeeding and missing out on core mathematical concepts. You can use the report to compare what is needed and what is provided by your tutoring organization. You can apply through an email request on our website here.