Collinsville ISD Working with Whizz Education to Make Progress in Math

Collinsville is a small town of 1,500 people located about 70 miles north of Dallas, Texas. The school was formed in 1904 but its roots originated out of a one-roomed log cabin! Today, Collinsville ISD welcomes around 500 students across two purpose-built campuses to offer a student-centered learning environment that celebrates high educational standards with a caring atmosphere to ensure independent, motivated and knowledgeable thinkers are ready to succeed.

Hannah Lemoine, Collinsville ISD 7th & 8th Grade Math Teacher and Grayson College Mathematics Dual Credit Professor explains: “I teach around 40 children in the 7th and 8th grades. The Pandemic and school closures have created a disconnect where some children were able to progress with their learning independently, but many found it much more difficult. There is now a considerable gap between the highest and lowest achievers, and I felt additional resources could help.

“I was first introduced to Whizz Education at a Region 10 meeting where Education Success Partner Kim Gossett presented. I really liked the fact that the company’s award-winning virtual tutor Math-Whizz automatically tailors lessons to meet the individual level of a child’s learning. When teaching a class of between 17-20 children it would be impossible to adapt individual lessons for each child. However, Math-Whizz does this!

“We agreed an initial trial with Whizz Education to start in March 2022. Kim Gossett and Whizz Education’s Schools Director, Emma Ringe, visited Collinsville to learn more about my objectives and plan the trial implementation. They also provided bespoke 1-2-1 training and have since met with the children to see how they are progressing.

“One of the key benefits to the platform is that data is generated in real time. It provides a great idea where students are, and I can use this information for tutorials. I can group several children which are struggling with a particular topic, and we can have a mini lesson. Then, they can go onto the Math-Whizz virtual tutor to consolidate their learning. The ‘topic focus’ can help here, as this means they can develop their skills further on that subject.

“As a teacher I can also review the data to see which topics have been mastered as a class, so I know I don’t need to spend more time on that subject. It takes the guess work out of teaching!

“The data I can access on my screen, as children work through the platform is also helpful. I can see how they are progressing in real-time, and there is also the option for me to see what an individual is seeing, so I can step in to help if needed.

“At the start of the trial, all children completed the Math-Whizz assessment. The results backed-up my thoughts and demonstrated that there really is a four-year gap between the lowest and highest attaining pupils. As well as group data, individual information can be accessed too, so I was also able to see gaps in learning for some of the higher attaining pupils which wouldn’t have been easy to detect without this insight.

“From the children’s perspective, the platform is exciting! They spend around 45-minutes per week on Math-Whizz and love playing the games, competing against each other and earning coins and gems. It’s fun but they are still learning. Some children have even asked to come in and use Math-Whizz during break times!

“I really like the way the Math-Whizz is structured. ‘Me, we and you’ approach where we watch ‘me,’ then ‘we’ work through together, then ‘you’ work on your own, matches the way I teach in lessons. I also like that instruction is automatically aimed at weaker areas, but children get to work on topics they are good at too. This boosts confidence. They can see where they are getting good percentages on lessons, and this is motivating.

“Once we are a little further down the line with our implementation, I am looking forward to seeing how the assessment data demonstrates progress I’m already beginning to see on screen with topic bars turning green. I would also be interested to see how progress could be made when the virtual tutor is used consistently over multiple groups over several years at different grade levels.

“If I had to provide advice for other schools and teachers, I would say working with new EdTech is a big change. However, be open minded and don’t give up. Encourage children to do the same to realize the significant benefits it can offer. Don’t be afraid to lean on suppliers for training and support. Whizz Education’s team have been extremely helpful and will respond to emails usually within an hour to any question or point I have. They are also open to feedback. In addition, their training has been thorough, and I know further development sessions can easily be arranged. I would absolutely recommend Whizz Education.”