assess a timely practice assignment

This is one of two types of assignment. learners regularly (at least 3 times per week) doing their personalised timely practice assignments, embed their learning more deeply and more quickly than their peers. An assess assignment - timely practice and pre assess - summary card (print at 80%) is available as an aid memoire.


Assess a timely practice assignmentassessed assignmentHow in class help changes the assessment choice

Target 1: accurately dividing learners answers into


Summarybest learn laterfeedback"oops""good answer"

Teachers internal dialogue

"I wish I'd never set this"Which to choose depends on help learner already had in class."independent and accurate"

Target 2: good use of teacher assessment time 

  • Teachers find they spend less than 80 seconds when assessing a 15 question timely practice assignment provided
    • the teacher practises being clear on what symbol to use by keeping a print out of this page handy when assessing (see summary card - print at 80%)
    • the teacher doesn't write hints to the learner - instead only use the star symbol - meaning "I want to feedback to you on this" (old style marking may work, but it takes too much time for the value it gives, so don't do it)

 The step by step guide

  1. Go to Home / Classes / classname page click on Assess Assignments button
  2. Order the assignments by Type
  3. From the timely practice assignments click on the learner's name 
  4. For each question decide the best button to select 

Quality of written answer


on pdf




"small help"


"more help"


Perfect answer 


The learner can gain a tick on the answer line, even if they have had a lot of help.

Minor "oops" error 


Use this only once you know the learners learning well - if in doubt use "feedback"

Inaccurate or incomplete or missed out.

✳︎ or *

The teacher thinks there is hope the learner can learn this with the available teachers, without negatively impacting other learning.

Best learned later


"best learned later"
The teacher thinks that it will take too much lesson or teacher time to get the learner to be able to independently and accurately answer questions like this.
  1. Once all questions are assessed check "Does this learner have too many stars on this assignment" (≥ 5 out of 15)
    • If too many stars read the info about "thinning out" at the bottom of this page (rare event)
    • If an OK proportion of stars click the "Finished Assessment" button 
  2. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until all timely practice assignments are assessed.
FYI the button 
is only available when learning is fragile. If learning is improving or mastered the teacher may delete the layer by going to the Learners Progress Page, clicking on the layer and clicking on the bin symbol that appears at the bottom of the page. This decision was taken to "protect" embedded learning and remove the need for an (in our opinion) annoying "are you sure?" question from the app every time the teacher wants to delete a layer. Do let us know how annoying or useful this is once you've been using the timely practice app to Teach on firm learning foundations for a little while.

small help or more help?

Ideally over 70% of the assignment should be ticks ...

  • if a learner can "do the maths" but "not the numeracy" (which will result in a high proportion of ~ when assessing) - the teacher should consider reducing the level of difficulty of the Number and Word and Proportion work set to the learner. Do this by "thinning out" (see info box at the bottom of the page)
  • if the learner can't yet "do the maths" (which will result in a high proportion of * when assessing) - and the teacher doesn't have time to do the feedback required - the teacher must do "thinning out" (see info box at the bottom of the page). In an intervention group for example the teacher is happy to have a high proportion of - feedback required - but in a whole class setting the teacher may need less learners needing less help. 

The phrase "thinning out" comes from gardening it means - removing some of the "too many" seedlings, to give the other seedlings a chance to grow well. The seedlings removed will ideally be the weaker looking ones, but sometimes they are just randomly chosen.

The gardening analogy works well as if a teacher gives a learner feedback on "too many" questions, the learner will get overwhelmed and won't remember (or worse muddle) the help the teacher gives. (In the gardening analogy no seedlings can grow well as they are too squashed together, there is not water, light, soil for them to grow well).

Reducing waste

Wasting (both the learner's and teacher's) time giving help ineffectively is a waste in itself  - but worse it will also have a negative impact on all the other layers the learner is learning; better to remove some layers. In other words help timely practice do its primary job "embed learning" rather than its secondary job "provide the opportunity to give small amounts of targeted tutoring to teach what hasn't been learned yet".

Remember that without timely practice much of the learning we are trying to preserve would have turned into forgetting. Any layers that merit a star would almost certainly have been lost to forgetting without timely practice. By "best learn later"-ing some layers, we enable timely practice to help more layers to become embedded learning. Unlike in the gardening scenario where seedlings thinned out just die, in the timely practice scenario the layers can be taught later and next time teaching will be on  "on firm foundations".

Thinning out is rarely needed

Thinning out is rarely required, and generally only on the first round of "finding and firming learning foundations" teaching. Reasons for thinning out include

  • a very inaccurate learner (almost always this will turn out to be because the learner has learning gaps and is trying to do work which is a "bit too hard for them")
  • an overly optimistic teacher or
  • a learner getting secret help (almost always this will turn out to be because the learner has anxiety - so a good remedy is to ensure learners are practising and learning work within their proximal learning zone, which conveniently enough requires removing work that the learner finds "hard" for now)

An "overly optimistic teacher" is likely to

  • add too many layers via "teach" (that is adding more than layer to "teach" per topic more than occasionally) 
  • keep "too many layers within timely practice" by thinking "I can help this learner with this when I feedback" too frequently 

This will mean there will be too many layers in the learner's timely practice assignment for which the learner still needs more teaching not just timely practice.