Over the last few months we’ve been working really hard to deliver something for maths teachers and students alike to use following the students completion of past papers….

Before that though .. a little background … I’ve always gone through the papers after a test in a number of different ways – most usually involve them engaging with the papers rather than me talking at them – I’ve got no issue with the “talking them through it” method (obviously with lots of whole class questioning) and there are some groups for which this would be my preference. Whatever way I’ve done it, the intention has always been to address those “marks I SHOULD have got” … you know the ones where they made mistakes or misread the question or through them not having a really firm grasp of topics that we’ve done in class for whatever reason or as one student called them … for those “brainfart” moments! About 3 years ago I started (with groups I had a good relationship with and didn’t have to worry about managing behaviour too much!) getting them to¬† correct their mistakes from other students in small groups but allowing them to have ONE (just ONE!!) member of their team that can get out of their seats and find a correct answer to bring back to the others and explain it to the rest of them, IF, and ONLY IF no one else on their table can help. This also works really well giving them blank versions with the aim of them, as a group producing a set or perfect answers. With this though I always felt it unfair that there was only one paper at the end and lots of my students wanted to have their own paper …

Anyway, Seager and I had a vision to be able to produce papers for students to practice¬†exactly the same skill that was on the original test after some form of revision / re-teaching / reminder / intervention (you get the idea!!!) so we’ve come up with RAG papers (as in Red, Amber, Green – not very original I know!) and its finally finished in terms of functionality (with a couple more tweaks ongoing as with all these things!). In order to ensure that the same skill is being retested, there are 3 different alternative questions that could be included so effectively the students could all get different papers – we could have allowed the system to include say, another “Pythag” question but I feared that it could be a question sooooo far away from the original that it defeated the purpose of what we set out to do. There are basically two different access levels:

  • RAGLite which is free to use but access must be requested (note: we will only grant access to school based email addresses). This will generate a personalised alternate paper. Questions on which full marks were gained can be excluded so that the alternate paper is sort of zooming in on insecure topics if you (or your students!!) wish.
  • “Normal” RAG which is available to our “JustMath’ers” as part of the JustMaths Online subscription package and the options should have appeared at the top of your page when you log into JMOnline (if it hasn’t please let me know). Papers can be generated in the same way as RAGLite (i.e. by single paper) but can also be generated through the multi-upload (this is crippling our server so is one of our initial tweaks that we’re working on as we speak so bear with us!) .. the difference is that the papers will also include a link to video support showing students how to answer the original question but also worked solutions to their own personalised papers … so there really can be no excuses!!! Seager got very excited about being able to produce very quickly a bespoke paper when you’re asked for work for a student for whatever reason.

The functionality was unveiled on JustMathsOnline and so far the feedback has been very positive – especially given that we currently only have Edexcel Summer 2017 papers available (Nov 17 Foundation papers will be available next week … fingers crossed!, followed by the Higher tier and then the work on the other boards begins!!) … it’s all very exciting but flipping hard work and that’s my excuse for not blogging recently!!