School Closure: timely practice classes. JUNE 2020

This is advice for teachers of learners already using timely practice, for learners not yet using timely practice please follow this link.

Mitigating learning loss

This page is about how timely practice has already and can continue to mitigate against the learning loss which we expect from extended school closure.

Ordinarily timely practice keeps

  • "old learning" ticking over - so that it is practised infrequently but sufficiently that it isn't forgotten: this learning has up to now, always survived a summer holiday
  • "recently mastered learning" on a retrieval practice program so that it becomes more deeply embedded over time: this normally survives a summer holiday 
  • "recent learning" - learning which is categorised as fragile or improving: some of the improving learning and more of the fragile learning is forgotten over the summer break - this is why we recommend for the last 2 to 3 weeks of  the summer term
    • continuing with timely practice every maths lesson,
    • and doing "project based" learning rather than "new content based" learning during maths lessons.

it is recommended to get learners to do their timely practice now

With school closure many layers have been "due" for some time - so many layers are now "overdue"

  • if learners next do their timely practice now - mid June until early July - this will be "double the length of the normal summer holiday" gap to bridge
  • if learners next do their timely practice in September - this will be "quadruple the length of the normal summer holiday" gap to bridge

Hence we at timely practice propose the number one priority should be embedding learning to avoid more learning loss. Before looking at this, let me just say that 

timely practice has already made learning more durable

Classes who have been using timely practice will already be advantaged ...

  • "already knew" learning - that which is on the fast track - has almost definitely been retained by learners - and without timely practice some of this learning would have been lost
  • "taught with timely practice" learning - which is on the learning track - will have had its duration of recall-ability" stretched by timely practice, so
    • is much more likely to have lasted than without timely practice,
    • will be easier and quicker to re-teach than without timely practice, and we will know exactly what to reteach when we are ready to do so.

In the last few months, timely practice hasn't been used, so hasn't been able to do its job so things will be different:

  • "old learning" ticking over: I don't think we have to worry about this learning yet
  • "recently mastered learning": this normally survives a summer holiday and should be our priority.
  • "recent learning": my guess is that most of this learning will have been lost to forgetting but we should check as soon as practicable to avoid more being forgotten.

90 odd days since last practice

Most schools haven't been able to do any timely practice in the last 90 days. 

So layers with

  • a depth of learning of < 90 days will all be waiting in the ready for practice queue
  • some layers with a depth of learning ≥ 90 days will also be waiting in the ready for practice queue, as they became ready for practice during the last 90 days

What would be ideal is if we could find all the layers which have been remembered until now (mid June) but will be forgotten by say September and get those practised now before the end of this term. However we can't know which layers they are, nor can we just practice those (timely practice wasn't set up for this).

So we must do our best to find the layers which will be most valuable for the learner to practise and the least discouraging.

How to make the best of a bad situation

There is a month before the end of term - this is enough time to do a lot to help "double school holiday loss" becoming "quadruple school holiday loss"

Use the dropbox link given

  1. Start setting the assignments created for your class set 31st July (will probably be hard) and the most recent date (will probably be easy)
  2. Tell the truth to the learners re learning loss (see (info) box below) 
  3. Assess a little differently 
    • no  nor  
    • just  or 
  4. Decide which is best for each leaner
    • with working back from the 30th July, 29th July (best for maths, worst for self confidence) 
    • one dated 30th July and the most recent (similar to the first pair)
    • the next most recent date
  5.  Repeat steps 3 to 5

From the classes that have already started expect

  • at least a 1/3 of the class to be able to independently and accurately do 10/15 of the questions in the 31st July assignment, and 15/15 of the assignment with the most recent date,
  • about 1/3 learners to be unwilling to do the 31st July assignment, but be happy to do the assignment with the most recent date,
  • about 1/3 where a trial and improvement process and will be the best route through the assignments

tell the truth

We will enable each learner to embed most learning, if they are able to be "onboard" with their practice - so we need to say

  1. They will have forgotten some learning - but that is OK - so you'd like it if they are not sure how to answer a question, to share this with you, so they may use codes for questions they can't do or answers they are not sure of 
    • F = forgotten
    • ? = I'm not sure
    • HP = I think I could do this if I had some "help please"
    • BLL = best learned later - they remember that they found this kind of question hard from before - so they don't even want to try it
    • etc
  2. That the more overdue their timely practice questions are, the harder they will find some questions - and you will be working together to find which layers they can remember and which they cannot. For this term only, the closer to the end of term the date on the assignment, the more likely they are to have forgotten more of the questions. 
  3. The learner should be pleased with the questions that they can remember - as this means they have remembered that maths well.

learning loss over the summer holiday

Research of learning loss over the summer holiday is generally found in American literature

While all students regardless of income lost approximately equal amounts in maths skills (an average of 1.8 months of progress) and spelling skills (4 months of progress), low-income students are subject to the largest learning loss when it comes to reading recognition, losing approximately 1.5 months while higher-income children gained around 2.3 months (Cooper et al., 1996)

However UK based research found

Evidence submitted to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger (APPG) (Forsey, 2017) in the United Kingdom suggests that it takes up to 6 weeks for teachers to re-teach material forgotten over the summer period.