everything (briefly)

This document summarises the rationale behind, and the working of, the app

What does the app do ... ?

The app supports the teacher to dramatically improve a student's recall of maths that they have learned, by using efficient retrieval practice or spaced learning called the spaced repetition system (increasing interval retrieval practice or spaced repetition system (SRS)).

In a nutshell, the app shifts the balance of responsibility for reviewing learned work away from the student and the teacher.  Instead, the app takes on responsibility for the review.

... how does it do it?

For the app to work well, students will need to review previously learned work several times a week. This is done through timely practice assignments. 

Repeated timely practice is the heart of the app and it ensures that learning is rarely forgotten, and on the rare occasions it is forgotten, it is much easier to re-learn.

This means that, especially for low attaining students who often have very poor memories, the teacher will be able to spend more class time on teaching new work and less on re-teaching work that has been completely forgotten.

The timely practice app is like a maths teaching technician, remembering who has learned, what, when and how well and organising the reviews to maximise student's maths attainment in the minimum time.

Building on learned work using timely practice

The teacher can use the length of time the app thinks students will remember a recently taught skill, method or fact, which is called the depth of learning, to decide when to teach something new based on previous knowledge. Using the example of a low-attaining class in how learners forgetting makes teaching harder - and how timely practice uses forgetting to make learning last longer, consider the two outcomes:-

When the students using are not using the timely practice app, the teacher would find that after 3 weeks, only 25% of the students could remember the previously learned work.

When the students using are using the timely practice app, the teacher would find that after 3 weeks 100% of the students could remember the previously learned work.

When the students using are using the timely practice app, the teacher would find that after 6 weeks 80% students could remember the previously learned work so well (we say they have mastered it) that the teacher could use the previously learned work to teach her class some new, harder work based upon the previously learned work.

Timely practice enables low attaining students to dramatically improve their attainment

The process of ensuring students have learned pre-requisite skills solidly before moving on to harder work is called mastery learning. Mastery learning is associated with large learning gains. However when traditionally applied mastery learning can be time consuming, and difficult to manage as "teachers also need to plan carefully for how to manage the time of pupils who make progress more quickly." With timely practice the class can get on with learning other topics, until the occasional repeated practice ensures that all have mastered the pre-requisites for the next stage of learning within the topic. 

Using timely practice means that students become more willing to learn new work, as they begin to believe they will be able to retain learning by practising (they learn to have a growth mindset).

Talking about how the timely practice app works

Topics and strands

The work is split up into topic, such as expand or write in algebra. The topic is then split up into numbered of layer, with 1 being the easiest.

The layer are very small nugget of skills/knowledge/method within any topic. The strands enable the teacher to scaffold the students learning effectively.

timely practice cycle

In pre assess, the teacher decides "Does this student know this already and can they independently and accurately apply this", if the teacher decides yes, then this strand is passed to the timely practice cycle, timely practice cycle. Strands than have been pre assessed will "fast track" as long as the student continues to get them correct, if the student makes an error the strand stops being fast tracked.

When the teacher plans to teach something to the student, or has just taught something to the student the teacher sets that strand to "teach". The strand is added to the timely practice cycle. Strands that have been added to the timely practice cycle via "teach" are never fast tracked.

The timely practice cycle is the heart of the app, which decides when the student should review work. The timely practice cycle uses the spaced repetition system (increasing interval retrieval practice or spaced repetition system (SRS)) to ensure the student can recall work they have learned, yet minimise the number of reviews of each strand. 


The student reviews the layer within timely practice assignments, by answering a question from the strand.

An assignment can be on printed on paper or viewed on an electronic device.

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