How the Central School Dubai Helps Students Develop and Improve Maths Skills

Mala Mehra, Principal

The Central School, Dubai, was established in 1982 in a small villa in Deira Dubai. The school moved under the NIMS group management in 1986, and the institution, which began with just 120 pupils, has now evolved into teaching more than 3,000 students. The Central School Dubai earned an inclusive reputation for providing quality education at reasonable rates, attracting families from various nationalities such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, who made the school the learning destination of choice for their children.

The Central School Dubai follows the CBSE (Indian) curriculum and fosters a tradition of excellence in all subjects. In 2019, in a drive to help further develop and improve students’ learning attainment in maths, The Central School Dubai began work with Whizz Education. Whizz Education was the perfect partner as experienced educators focused on improving learning outcomes.

Noorain Sakina, Maths HOD, Primary, explains: “We were looking for a solution to improve maths’ skills, including problem-solving, calculations and dealing with numbers for our Kindergarten children, right through to our Year five students.

“Following initial planning, we initially set out clear goals with Whizz Education, and an implementation plan was created to target 1,900 students across the school. The plan included teacher training, detailed data analysis and reporting, regular review meetings and a course correction approach, plus all the support and Teachers Resources we needed to ensure our students achieved improved learning outcomes in maths in addition to access to Whizz Education’s award-winning virtual tutor MathsWhizz.

“It was essential for us to be able to demonstrate the results of our partnership with Whizz Education, and so the data that Whizz Education provides is key to our ongoing success with the project. It enables us to identify strengths and address any areas of weakness with cohorts of pupils or individuals, so teachers are empowered to step in and offer further support and direction to ensure learning outcomes are improved.

“As part of the plan, our goal was for students to achieve targeted numbers of progressions (a metric calculated on usage and tests taken in the virtual tutor Maths-Whizz) each week. Correct effort to achieve progressions guarantees improvement and acceleration in Maths Age (a measure of ability similar to Reading Age).

“Whizz Education arranged detailed teacher training sessions on navigating Maths-Whizz and analysing the key data. We can now assess and track the progress of every student and break this down for each topic, such as fractions, decimals, time or shapes and space. This information helps our teachers with lesson planning to focus on areas for improvement. We can then access the topic focus within Maths-Whizz to reinforce learning both in the classroom and for assigned homework.”

“We can also identify progress on an individual level. For example: the top three students each month. Individualized reports give information about the student’s Maths Age and progression made for the current academic year. It means it is easy to monitor every student’s work with visual, accurate and real-time reporting. It also enables our teachers to support those who require additional help so consistent progress and attainment can be made for every child.”

Mala Mehra, Principal, The Central School of Dubai confirms: “Whizz Education provides usage information from the virtual tutor which enables assessment of the progress of each student which is critical for us. For example: we are provided with a monthly analysis which describes the progression made by the students and the monthly usage. The class reports break the data down so teachers can identify strengths and weaknesses of their students and take action to address and improve
learning outcomes.

“Having the solution during the Pandemic was particularly beneficial as it meant students could still make progress with maths while the school was closed.

Noorain Sakina, Maths HOD, Primary, continues. “We also find The Teachers’ Resource is really helpful. It includes a sizable collection of online worksheets, which we can print and use to support learning on the selected topic. We can also take advantage of the new functionality within Teachers’ Resource to “copy link”, which means we can provide a direct link to the classroom lesson for students to consolidate learning on the same subject at home.

Maths Phobia or Maths Anxiety is another challenge for many students, but the virtual tutor enables us to address this positively. There are many games, and the solution is user friendly, colourful and fun, so students soon start to enjoy the challenges of problem-solving and are motivated as they clearly gain progress.”

Mala Mehra, Principal, The Central School of Dubai confirms: “The Teacher’s Resource contains objective based worksheets. Sample worksheets can be uploaded as study material, reducing the burden of work for our teachers. “I know the Topic Focus function of the virtual tutor is also particularly beneficial. It enables our teachers to set focused, differentiated lessons and homework can also be assigned on a particular topic to improve understanding or consolidate learning through rigorous practice. It is possible to view the report for particular subjects too, to assess the level of ability of each student for that topic and weaker skills can be targeted.”

Catherin Christyra, Maths HOD, KG, continues: “We use benchmark tests for all students. To ensure progression, we know correct and consistent usage is key. Therefore, we have worked with our Education Success Partner at Whizz Education to develop regular, termly competitions, which have resulted in increased engagement across year groups. Children are rewarded with certificates, trophies, and stickers from Whizz, which they love.

“As we are working with the CBSE curriculum, for any EdTech implementation to work well, it is important that providers listen to our contextual feedback. Whizz Education’s team is always happy to take on board our findings and make adjustments. This course correction approach is particularly beneficial for us. One example is where, following analysis of the data, we discovered children were spending time on the tutor but not achieving sufficient progressions. We found they participated in the lessons but skipped the tests, which are necessary to earn progressions. To make it clearer for students, Whizz Education updated the interface, more clearly stating if the student is in ‘Exercise’ or ‘Test’ mode. We were then able to step in to encourage them to take the regular tests, so the required progressions were achieved.

“Whizz Education has also provided parent engagement sessions along with an instructional guide. Now our parents understand how to check the dashboard and monitor the progressions of their children too. Having their buy-in means students can achieve greater progress overall.”

Mala Mehra, Principal, The Central School of Dubai: “We are delighted with our partnership with Whizz Education and our school. The data, tools, and support supplied empower our teachers to address learning gaps and ensure our classes of mixed ability students all make positive progress and experience improved learning outcomes in maths.