The QuickSmart Numeracy and Literacy programs were developed by John Pegg and Lorraine Graham of the National Centre of Science, Information and Communication Technology and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR) at the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. These programs began implementation in schools in 2001. By 2009, they were implemented in over 150 primary and high school around Australia. In 2011 approximately 600 schools involving 10,000 students were using QuickSmart.
QuickSmart aims to reverse the trend of ongoing poor academic performance for students who have been struggling at school and who are caught in a cycle of continued failure. It also includes a professional learning program that provides the opportunity for classroom teachers, special needs support teachers, and teacher aides to discuss and practise ways to significantly improve under-achieving middle school students' learning outcomes in basic mathematics and literacy.
QuickSmart instructors work in small class instructional settings with two students, for three 30 minute lessons a week, over thirty weeks. They use a specially constructed teaching program supported by extensive material and computer-based resources. The program is called QuickSmart to encourage students to become quick in their response speed and smart in their understanding and strategy use. In QuickSmart, the aim is to improve students’ information retrieval times to levels that free working memory capacity from an excessive focus on mundane or routine tasks. In these interventions, automaticity is fostered; time, accuracy and understanding are incorporated as key dimensions of learning, and an emphasis is placed on ensuring maximum student on-task time. The lessons help develop the learners’ abilities to monitor their own learning and to set realistic goals for themselves.
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Independent (statewide or standardised tests) assessment results gathered from QuickSmart and comparison students since 2001 have consistently demonstrated student growth of two to four years’ improvement over a 30-week period as measured by effect size statistics. Interviews and surveys of students, parents, teachers, and principals have gathered consistently positive qualitative data, indicating improvements for QuickSmart students in class, in their attitudes to school, their attendance rates and their levels of confidence in and out of the classroom.
- Bellert A. & Graham, L. 2003, 'QuickSmart': Developing automaticity in basic academic skills for middle years students with learning difficulties', Annual Conference of the Middle Years of Schooling Association, June, Brisbane, Queensland.
- Bellert, A. & Graham, L. 2003, 'Effective intervention for students with learning difficulties in the middle school grades', State Conference of the Australian Association of Special Education, September, Toowoomba, Queensland
- Graham, L., Pegg, J., & Alder, L. 2007, 'Enhancing secondary school students' literacy performance through a basic skills intervention', Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 30 (3), 221-234. Invited article.
- Pegg, J. & Graham, L. 2007, 'Addressing The Needs Of Low-Achieving Mathematics Students: Helping Students 'Trust Their Heads, Keynote. In K. Milton, H. Reeves, & T. Spencer (Eds.) Proceedings of the 21st biennial conference of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers. ISBN 978-1-875900-63-3
- Pegg, J.E., Graham, L.J. and Bellert, A. 2005, The effect of improved automaticity of basic number skills on persistently low-achieving pupils, Learners and Learning Environments, 29th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, vol.4, 4-49.