Plan teaching using Progress on Topic (finding and firming foundations)

This is where assessment for learning or the tracking what each learners "knows already" and how deeply they know it pays off first.


Step-by-step guide

  1. Go to go to the class home page press the Progress on Topic choose the topic theme from the Choose Topic Theme chooser and the topic from the Choose Topic chooser. 
  2. Sort the Progress on Topic in the most helpful way possible. Plan what is the best next step for each learner to learn and how to teach this. With the first round of teaching using timely practice, which we call finding and firming learning foundations, the Progress on Topic probably won't have a full picture of the depth of learning of each learner, as this takes time to build up (see the (info) box at the bottom of the page). 

  3. Many teachers find that printing out the Progress on Topic page helps them to plan and resource lessons, others find using a lesson pro forma more useful as it reminds the teacher how to use the timely practice app efficiently.
  4. Gather teaching and learning resources; download and print:-
    • timely practice assignments
    • pre assess assignments (if applicable)
    • practise-learn resources (if applicable)
  5. The teacher should encourage learners to focus on accuracy rather than quantity if using the practise-learn resources. We recommend the teacher has plenty of extra practise-learn resources available, as the less well the teacher knows the learners, the less accurately the teacher can predict the resources they will need to teach.

  6. Please do use other teaching and learning resources. timely practice focuses on questions for learners to practise (although we have some mp4 videos and some other teach-learn resources found by clicking the blue topic name on the learning resources page) Example questions for teachers to use are always found in the topicNameSample documents, near the top of the topic page. We hope to have time to create individual layer teach-learn documents with questions helpful for teachers to teach small groups of learners during the next year or two. 
  7. The teacher can preface the first few lessons by saying that they want to find out more about what the learner know; that although they (the teacher) has some idea from the pre assess assignments the learner has completed; they (the teacher) want to find out more about this (the learners existing learning) as this will help both the teacher teach better and the learner learn better.
  8. After the lesson ...  timely practice won't know what the teacher has "taught" to each learner unless told, so make sure you add layers taught (last lesson) to the Progress on Topic.

Assuming that the teacher is creating and marking timely practice assignments at least 3 times a week as recommended, the Progress on Topic will quickly becoming extremely detailed. Initially some layers may not have been pre assessed and the fragile, improving and mastered colours will not yet be accurate. That said even after a day the Progress on Topic will already more clearly and usefully display information than a traditional pre assess test can. The more time elapsed between the pre assess of the topic and the teaching of the topic, the more accurate the Progress on Topic will be as follows:

Class was pre assessed less than a week ago:

The information will be least clear, the teacher will be able to see who knows something about some layers, but the depth of the learners knowledge will be inaccurate or unknown. The teacher should err on the side of caution and assume that learners may only have a partial knowledge of layers coloured blue.

If the teacher has been teaching the class for some time, prior to beginning timely practice, the teacher can use their judgement on what to set. That being said timely practice is all about learners being able to accurately and independently answer all questions on what they have learned, whereas traditional business as usual teaching is often about teaching harder work as soon as feasible, meaning learners can easily have large gaps in their learning, making both teaching and learning difficult. 

Assume the learners will know less than that shown in blue

Approximately 20% of layers pre assessed as "already knows" will be false positives. This means that not everything that is shown as blue can be relied on as firm foundations for future learning.  We recommend the teacher set the learners a practise-learn worksheet not at the "extreme end of difficulty" of what the learner may know, but perhaps 2/3 of the way down the blue layers in the Progress on Topic. e.g.

  • learner has layers 1, 3, and 5 coloured blue - teacher starts the learner at 4 (ensure extra resources for layer 5 and 6 are available)
  • learner has layers 1, 2 coloured blue - teacher starts the learner at layer 2 (if 2 proves challenging then 1 can be set, if 2 proves "very easy" 3 can be set)

FYI Some topics are a smooth gradual ascent to a series of goals e.g. decimal fraction  Some topics are a collection of mixed skills e.g. number x 10 etc, the layers are in order of difficulty but layers 7 wouldn't necessarily be taught within the same lesson as layers 4 and 6. 

Moving on from our proof of concept version, two of the key changes we wish to make are:

  • to automate the pre assess process and
  • to display the assessment for learning data within the Progress on Topic to reflect the unreliability of the pre assess data

in the mean time, it is best to plan your teaching assuming the data within the Progress on Topic is unreliable.

Class was pre assessed between a week and a fortnight ago

The teacher will be able to see more about the depth of the learning of each layer in the topic: the "better" (i.e. more accurately and more independently) the learner can answer questions on the layer, the deeper the shade of blue.

  • layers coloured light blue are likely to be fragile - that is the learner is still learning something about the layer.
  • However layers coloured the improving learning shade of blue may be actually be mastered learning - because not enough time has elapsed, nor enough questions answered to be able to differentiate between improving and mastered.

Class was pre assessed several weeks ago

The teacher will be able to see the depth of learning by the depth of the blue colour. The teacher can now expect the shaded of blue to match the key.

However sometimes learners may "know already" or "know something" on layers coloured light grey (not learning) because they have not been assessed on all layers.

Layers that have been mastered do not need to be taught - instead a harder layer should be taught.

Layers that are improving can be taught - they may be easy for the learner, so the teacher may want to have practice resources on the next harder layer available in case it is needed.

Layers that are fragile should be definitely be taught - there will be some aspects of the layer that the learner needs to learn or there will be problems with the learners accuracy which need to be addressed.

Class has finished the finding and firming learning foundations phase

Once the teacher has taught every appropriate topic once (we call this the finding and firming learning foundations phase), the teacher will return to teach each topic a second time (we call this teaching on firm learning foundations phase). The teacher will be able to see what learners don't know and also what they do know and to what depth each learner can accurately apply their knowledge to questions. The teacher will also have an idea of the learning capacity of each learner, many learners can learn 2 layers in an hour lesson and do their timely practice assignment, some learners are best taught only one layer. We strongly recommend that after learning foundations are firm, it is better for the learner to learn the two layers from different topics (because each new "bite" of learning will be on firm foundations). Schemes of learning which pair topics are helpful here.