1 WHAT IS SUCCESSMAKER? Overview SuccessMaker is an award-winning educational software program that supports and supplements teaching in reading and maths for learners in Grades K–8 (Years 1–9). SuccessMaker:
differentiates and personalises teaching correlates to the National curriculum programmes of study for both reading and maths offers strategic course selection that allows teachers to customise courses by skills or by National curriculum standards. Customise-by-skills provides targeted intervention to fill gaps and help pupils meet attainment targets. As pupils move through courses, they can work below, at or above the expected level of attainment for their age based on their unique needs. When they struggle, SuccessMaker automatically launches support strategies that teach critical concepts from earlier year groups as needed. Customise-by-standards focuses on National curriculum age-level content using courses that present activities specifically aligned to a year group and which support pupils in reaching the expected level of attainment for their age. Teachers can easily create a custom-by-standards course by selecting a year group from the content standards to provide pupils with the right types of support they need. You can use both of the above strategies with the same pupils to maximise learning and support. provides pupils with 15–20 minutes on each subject, two to three times a week, working independently accommodates different learning styles and speeds supporting pupils with special educational needs, and gifted and talented pupils provides detailed reports that promote data-driven teaching and at-a-glance progress monitoring on the teacher dashboard generates forecasting data that can be used to prepare pupils for formal assessment tests.
2 INTRODUCING SUCCESSMAKER MATHS Overview SuccessMaker Maths is a highly-visual, engaging, and interactive standards-based course designed to develop and maintain fundamental concepts taught in Grades K–8 (Years 1–9) mathematics. SuccessMaker uses diagnostic sessions called initial placement (IP) to determine the pupil’s starting level. Pupils’ progress through the content via the following types of presentation: Mixed presentation – SuccessMaker individualises learning by the random selection of content strands within a specific level. Learning objects (LOs) have carefully defined parameters that randomly generate numbers and graphics. The resulting collection of content provides enough variety during a session that pupils rarely see the same combinations of strands, numbers, and graphics repeated. Interaction – SuccessMaker Maths uses a variety of interaction types including drag and drop, drop down, drawing, number entry, and multiple choice. Feedback – Pupils receive feedback that changes depending on whether their answers are correct or incorrect. They also receive rewards as they advance through the course. Animation – Seven animated themes that include introductory animations, a background, icons, and animated characters guide pupils through the course. Tutorials – SuccessMaker calls up step-by-step instruction on certain content when adaptive motion determines it is needed. Speed games – In addition to teaching learning with understanding, SuccessMaker Maths provides speed games to build number fluency with maths skills. Pupils gain mastery through the application of a weighted performance formula that examines patterns of response.
General pedagogy The content and structure of SuccessMaker Maths is based on the principles and standards recommended by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) while ensuring pupils encounter instruction at the right attainment level. The NCTM and the Pearson advisory boards of well-respected experts in the field of teaching mathematics education recommend that pupils acquire mathematical content and processes SuccessMaker
through interaction with a rich and wide variety of engaging problem situations. SuccessMaker Maths includes virtual manipulatives in real-world contexts for problem solving. While NCTM advises the importance of learning with understanding, NCTM also strongly advocates the need for computational fluency. Mathematical experts contend that without the ability to compute accurately and effectively, pupils’ ability to solve complex problems is severely impaired. SuccessMaker Maths provides pupils with opportunities to engage in contextualized problems that help them make the connection between computations and their applications.
Initial placement Initial placement (IP) is designed to select a starting level for each pupil to ensure the pupil works at an appropriate level. If the IP setting is turned off, the pupil is directly launched into the SuccessMaker Maths default course at the year group selected by the teacher. Custom by skills and custom by standards courses do not leverage IP since the goal is for pupils to work on year group content. When the IP setting is turned on, the pupil’s progress is monitored for up to the first 150 exercises during the initial execution of the course and uses that information to place the pupil at a level that is neither too easy nor too difficult. After every 30 questions during IP, SuccessMaker Maths judges the pupil’s performance at the current level. One of three decisions can occur as a result of these judgment points: If the pupil performs well, the pupil’s current level moves up half a level in order to challenge the pupil. This movement continues until the pupil changes direction or completes IP. If the pupil does not perform well, the pupil’s current level moves down half a level in an effort to better identify the functional level of the pupil. This movement continues until the pupil changes direction or completes IP. If the pupil is functioning with an average performance at the current level, the level will be maintained for another set of 30 exercises after which another judgment is made. At any time a pupil completes two consecutive sets of 30 exercises with no movement, IP is complete. NOTE: When the pupil’s level is adjusted in the same direction, adjustment is in broad increments. When the adjustment level changes direction, the increments decrease by half to become more refined until IP is complete. Upon completion of IP, the pupil is immediately entered into instruction at the IP level. The pupil has no notification that IP is complete and, if completed in the middle of a session, the session continues until the pupil signs out or the session time ends. Teachers can access reports showing progress in IP.
Initial placement illustration
Interpreting the initial placement illustration All four pupils are in Grade 4 (Year 5) as evidenced by their starting level in IP. First pupil (green line): This pupil performed very well during the first 60 exercises where two decisions were made to move the pupil up by .50 of a level. At level 5.0, the pupil performed at an average rate for the next 60 exercises during which two judgments kept the pupil working at the same level. With no movement forward or backward for two consecutive sets of 30 exercises, IP has compiled enough data to confirm that the pupil should be working at the current level. Therefore the pupil completes IP at level 5.00 and will begin the course at this level. Second pupil (blue line): This pupil accelerated during the first set of exercises and the judgment moved the pupil’s level up by .50 of a level. During the next 30 exercises the pupil’s progress declined, so the judgment moved the pupil’s level down. Since the pupil’s level changed directions, the movement increment was decreased by half, moving it down by .25 level. At the 60-exercise judgment, the pupil’s progress changed direction yet again, cutting the adaptive motion increment in half. Therefore, the judgment moved the pupil’s level up by .125 level. The pupil moved up again at the 90-exercise judgment leaving the adaptive motion direction unchanged. Being unchanged, the adaptive motion increment was .125 yet again. At the completion of IP, the pupil moved up .125 level once more making the pupil’s completion level 4.62. The pupil will begin the course at this level. Third pupil (yellow line): This pupil did not progress well during the first 30 exercises and the first judgment moved the pupil’s level down by .50 of a level. The pupil’s progress was much better in the next 30 exercises and warranted upward movement. Since the direction had changed, the judgment moved the pupil’s level up by .25 level. The pupil’s work in the course declined during the next 30 exercises, so the judgment moved the pupil’s level down. Since this was another change in direction, the pupil’s level declined by .125, which is half of the adaptive motion increment of the previous 30 exercises. In the set of exercises prior to the fourth judgment, the pupil’s performance improved. Since this was another change in direction, the upward adaptive motion increment was cut in half to .0625. During the last 30 exercises, the pupil’s performance remained average. As a result, the pupil’s level remained unchanged and at the final judgment during the completion of IP, the pupil was working at level 3.68. The pupil will begin coursework at this level. SuccessMaker
Fourth pupil (red line): Similar to the third pupil (yellow line), this pupil did not progress well during the first 30 exercises and the pupil’s level moved down by .50 of a level during the first judgment. The pupil’s progress did not change and the second judgment moved the pupil down by another .50 level since the pupil’s movement had not changed direction. The pupil’s performance became better, consequently, the level moved up by .25 during the next judgment. The pupil’s progress declined yet again, so the judgment changed direction and moved the pupil’s level down .125. The pupil’s progress declined once more, resulting in another downward movement of .125 level. The pupil completed IP at level 3.00 and will begin coursework at this level.
Adaptive motion learning model SuccessMaker’s adaptive motion directs each pupil’s path through the content. Skill objectives within and across strands are organised into a mixed presentation sequence of skill objectives. Initial placement (IP) motion finds the pupil’s appropriate level in the course. This level is suitable for learning, neither too easy nor too difficult. The proportion of instruction across concept areas is adjusted for the individual so that weaker areas receive more emphasis, thereby, reducing the gap between the pupil’s areas of relative weakness and strength. Mastery decisions are based on the probability of the pupil answering the next exercise correctly, not merely on the pupil’s current percentage of correct answers. The courseware, thereby, responds more quickly to pupil understanding, resulting in a more efficient use of the pupil’s time. Personalised intervention guides individual pupil learning. When the pupil encounters difficulties, the system employs various instructional strategies, including sequential practice within the areas of difficulty, presentation of brief tutorials, and/or review of prerequisite material. Dynamic sequencing of content adjusts to the individual pupil. When the pupil experiences repeated difficulties with new material, the material is set aside (delayed) for subsequent presentation. The goal is to challenge without frustrating the pupil, and thereby maintaining engagement with the courseware. By periodically checking the pupil’s recollection of previously mastered material, the system assures a firm foundation for further learning. The time a pupil requires to achieve specified gains is estimated and reported to the teacher. The estimate is initially based on the data from past users of SuccessMaker. Then, as the system analyses the individual pupil’s rate of progress, it adjusts that estimate. The course therefore provides a learning system that adapts to the individual pupil. The curriculum structures, adaptive motion and reporting functions that make this possible are designed to engage the pupil and assist the teacher. These product features are the consequence of continuous model refinement based on a sustained program of research.
Adaptive motion instructional model
Intervention cycle The intervention cycle of adaptive motion eliminates the random aspects of ordered navigation decisions by weighing the course content, the pupil, and the pupil's struggles. The intervention cycle can be entered a total of three times and includes the following instructional strategies: Sequential practice: Mixed presentation stops and the pupil receives more exercises of the same type before the adaptive motion determines the next move. Tutorials: The intervention cycle offers step-by-step tutorials and scaffolded tutorials. Tutorials provide instructions on how to complete an exercise or they can give the pupil opportunities to experience the skill in another context. Step-by-step tutorials: Lead the pupil through three instances of exercises that meet the objective. This guided practice provided in 100 step-by-step tutorials helps to solidify concepts and problem-solving procedures. Scaffolded tutorials: Help the pupil learn a concept by moving the pupil from concrete activities to more abstract problem solving. Scaffolded tutorials also include an adaptive motion that determines if the pupil needs to be moved back to a more concrete presentation.
In scaffolded tutorials, the pupils are presented two three-step problems to help to teach a concept:
Step 1: The pupil is presented a problem similar to the concept of the skill objective in which they are struggling.
Step 2: If the pupil answers incorrectly, SuccessMaker assumes that the pupil needs to have the problem simplified or restated.
Step 3: If the pupil answers incorrectly again, SuccessMaker moves the pupil into a third step that presents the instruction with concept-building, hands-on activities. This final step relies heavily on virtual manipulatives and visual models.
Prerequisite skill: The pupil then receives exercises from a prerequisite skill to reinforce understanding of the current skill.
After intervention, the skill is placed back into the mix of exercises being presented through mixed presentation. The pupil has another opportunity in a set of 6–8 exercises to show understanding of the skill. If understanding is proven, the skill is marked as mastered (complete) and the pupil moves on. If understanding is not proven, the skill can be placed into delayed presentation and enter the intervention cycle up to three times.
Mastery assessment SuccessMaker Maths follows the basic philosophy of a probability-based assessment (the likelihood that the pupil will get the next question correct). If this likelihood is higher than a certain threshold value, then the pupil is judged to have mastered the objective. When assessing mastery, the formula explicitly weighs the following factors:
Pattern of correct/incorrect answers giving the greatest weight to the most recent responses
Likelihood of a lucky guess
Difficulty of the exercise
Significance of the exercise (the degree of relatedness to a terminal objective)
Course content and organisation SuccessMaker Maths is organized by strands, concepts, topics, and skill objectives (learning objects) for grades K–8 (Years 1 to 9). Intervention elements are attached to skill objectives.
Maths course hierarchical structure
Strands SuccessMaker Maths is organised around a scope and sequence structure based on seven strands. Maths strands Statistics (all years) Geometry (all years) Measurement (all years) Number (all years) Pattern and algebra (all years) Number fluency (Y3 onwards) Probability (Y3 onwards) Table 2.1 Maths strands
Speed games The number fluency strand employs speed games, which enable pupils to practise their basic maths skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These exercises build automaticity, allowing pupils to readily access number facts. The number fluency (speed games) strand covers content for grades 2–8 (Years 3-9), containing a total of 70 exercise sets of 20 facts each.
Fluency speed games
A scoreboard on the screen reports the cumulative score after each correct response. The points received for each correct answer depend on the speed of the pupil’s response.
Scope and sequence Although SuccessMaker Maths is designed as a self-contained curriculum, you can also customise the content of courses to focus on intervention or complement your existing curriculum. You can preview the skill objectives and create custom courses in the Learning Management System. See Managing courses in the SuccessMaker Online Assistance in the teacher login area for more information.
The learning environment Pupils see the age-appropriate learning environments based on their year group, regardless of the IP level. Pupils in Years 7–9 who are working below a Year 7 attainment level view the content in the same age-appropriate environment as their Year 7–9 peers. Pupils in Years 1–6 who are working above a Year 6 attainment level view the content in the same age-appropriate environment as their Year 1–6 peers.
Themes SuccessMaker Maths themes consist of introductory animations, a background, icons, and in most cases, an animated characters that guides the pupil through the course. The character also provides feedback for correct and incorrect answers. A neutral background theme without an animated character is available for pupils in the older year groups.
Theme choice At the start of the course, pupils can choose between three themes based on their year group.
K–2 (Years 1-3)
3–5 (Years 4-6)
6–8 (Years 7-9)
Cats Road Trip
Table 2.2 Theme selections
Default themes If a pupil does not choose a theme, the default theme for that year group is assigned. Pupils will see different animations, backgrounds, and characters as they progress through a course. The sample screens shown in Table 2.3 help you understand the various features in the course and may not resemble the screens you see when you take your session.
The seal runs away from the traveling circus and makes friends with barnyard animals.
Baby dinosaurs travel to various exotic destinations.
Pup-dog meets friends and visitors throughout the year.
An Intergalactic Express deliveryman whose route takes him all over the universe.
Cool monsters enjoying social activities such as bowling, miniature golf and parties. Pupils can select a male or female monster character.
Cats on a road trip
Cat teenagers on a holiday. Pupils can select a male or female cat character.
Neutral screen without characters for pupils who want a more mature environment.
Table 2.3 Default themes
Rewards for progress All pupils using Maths default or custom-by-settings courses will be rewarded for advancing in the course. The first reward is unlocked at the completion of IP and then every 0.25 gain thereafter. The rewards motivate the pupils to take ownership of their learning and progress. Pupils have one minute at the start of a session to use their reward, or they can click the GO button to go immediately to the course. If a new theme is not selected within one minute, the system will randomly select a new theme.
3 HANDS-ON TOUR: SUCCESSMAKER MATHS The best way to get acquainted with the SuccessMaker Maths course is to take a session. This chapter shows you what you may see when you sample some exercises in SuccessMaker Maths.
Taking a session 1. Prepare a pupil user and course for assignment: a. Create a pupil user account. See Adding a pupil in SuccessMaker Online Assistance. b. Choose a course. You can choose the Maths (default) course or you can customise a course by settings, skills, or standards. See Creating custom courses in SuccessMaker Online Assistance. To experience initial placement, turn on the IP option when you edit the course settings. c. Assign a course to the pupil user account. See Assigning courses/assignments to pupils in SuccessMaker Online Assistance. 2. Sign in to SuccessMaker as the pupil user you created. See Signing in and signing out in SuccessMaker Online Assistance. 3. Click to launch the assigned Maths course and the lesson will begin. 4. As you progress through the course, use a variety of answering techniques to see how the course reacts to your responses, such as:
Answer questions correctly and incorrectly
Answer correctly on a second attempt
5. Click on the various icons and buttons to experience the tools and features available to your pupils. 6. During your session, allow yourself to exhaust the idle time for a question. SuccessMaker is monitoring the inactivity (mouse movement, keyboard entry, etc.).
Using the pupil resources Pupil resources are tools within the course that can help the pupil learn. Pupils can move the mouse pointer over the icons to see and hear the name of each resource. The use of a resource briefly interrupts the learning object. Most resources are available when the pupil’s assignment uses the default course/assignment settings. If a resource is deactivated, its icon is unavailable. Pupil resources include the following:
Tools — When pupils click on the Tools icon, they will find conversions, a protractor, a ruler, and a calculator. The conversions tool will convert a measurement to another within the imperial or metric systems. Reference — Under the Reference icon, pupils will find descriptions of different monetary values, reference tables, and glossary definitions. Check progress — The Check progress resource displays a progress report with the pupil’s score in the current session. The teacher can activate, deactivate, or limit this resource using the course/assignment settings in the SuccessMaker Learning Management System. If the resource is deactivated or the pupil has reached the set limit, the Check progress icon is unavailable. Show answer — The Show answer resource allows pupils to ask for help when struggling with a question and can be used once per presentation of a learning object (LO). If the LO repeats, Show answer can be used up to three times in the current session. When a pupil clicks Show answer, they receive visual and audio support to answer the question. When Show answer is used, the question is counted as incorrect to ensure an accurate accounting of the pupil’s abilities. Repeat audio — Pupils can use the Repeat audio resource to repeat the instructions and to increase or decrease the volume of the audio. Alternatively, when the pointer becomes a megaphone over the question, the pupil can click it to hear the question again. Outside of the Resources menu, a keypad and an eraser are also available to the user at specific times. When a computation-based exercise is started, a numeric keypad appears on the screen. The pupil can use the keypad or the keyboard to enter their answer. After a pupil has started entering an answer, they can move the mouse pointer over their entry and click to erase it and start over.
Tutorials The Tutorial icon is displayed when one is available for a particular exercise. Some tutorials present a step–by–step exercise solution similar to the exercise on which the pupil is working. Tutorials do not alter the pupil’s score in the session. To start a tutorial, click the Tutorial icon and follow the instructions. Once the tutorial is complete, the pupil is returned to the exercise.
Scratchpad activities Scratchpad activities allow pupils to “write” out maths calculations in the learning environment using the mouse. Activities are available in some skill objectives for addition, subtraction, and multiplication without decimals and without fractions. The teacher can turn the Scratchpad setting on or off at any time as often as necessary for a custom course, group assignment, or pupil assignment. When the Scratchpad setting is off, the icon is not visible to the pupil. If the Scratchpad setting is changed while an assignment is in progress, the change will be visible the next time the course is launched.
Idle time during a session SuccessMaker monitors idle time when there is no mouse movement or keyboard activity. An animated graphic appears one minute prior to the expiration of the set idle time. For example, if the idle time is set at five minutes, the pop-up appears at four minutes and remains for another minute unless action is taken.
Ending a session When a session ends properly, learning objects completed within a session are recorded and learning objects not completed within a session are saved. When the pupil revisits the assignment, they will begin on the last unanswered question. Results for the learning object are only recorded once it has been completed. Sessions may be ended three ways without data loss: Session expires: When the session time expires, SuccessMaker shows the pupil their progress for the session, signs the pupil out of the course, and then returns the pupil to the sign in page. Session closed for inactivity: If a session is inactive for more than 30 minutes, the session is closed and the pupil is returned to the sign in page.
Session closed by pupil/teacher: Pupils can end a session by clicking the blue X (Close) button in the upper-right corner of the SuccessMaker window. The session data is saved and the pupil is returned to the Assignments page.
CAUTION: Using the close button in the title bar of the browser window to close out of SuccessMaker could result in the loss of data. To prevent pupils from closing their sessions, the teacher can disable the blue close button and use the SHIFT+DOWN ARROW on the keyboard to end a pupil’s session. The blue close button can be turned on or off by editing the exit course button option in the course or assignment settings. NOTE: If the SHIFT+DOWN ARROW keys are already designated as a shortcut for another program, that shortcut must be changed or removed from the other program before SHIFT+DOWN ARROW will end the SuccessMaker session.
4 PREPARING FOR USE WITH PUPILS The effective implementation of SuccessMaker Maths in a computer lab or classroom setting involves careful scheduling of computer time and proper attention to the procedures provided by the Learning Management System. This chapter outlines what is required to start pupils in the system and gives you some ideas about scheduling in your classroom. If you need help in getting started, contact your system administrator.
Getting pupils started in SuccessMaker Maths Getting your pupils started with SuccessMaker Maths involves several steps including: Selecting the course/assignment settings Assigning the course Introducing them to the pupil resources before they begin their first session.
Selecting the course or assignment settings SuccessMaker Maths gives you the flexibility to change the course or assignment settings. Pupils can be assigned the Maths default course with IP active or custom courses for which you have selected the settings, standards, or skills.
Setting the session length You can use the Maths default course session length of 15 minutes or you can edit the session length. The default session length is based on the optimum average learning time for pupils. If you customise the course, the session length can be set from 5 to 180 minutes. You can edit the course and assignment settings for SuccessMaker Maths using the LMS. See Editing assignment settings in the SuccessMaker Online Assistance.
Assigning the course Step-by-step procedures for the following tasks can be found in the SuccessMaker Online Assistance: Managing groups, Adding groups topic Managing pupils, Adding a pupil topic Managing assignments, Editing assignment settings topic Managing courses, Creating custom courses topic
5 USING THE COURSE IN THE CLASSROOM In addition to providing pupils with quality learning time, SuccessMaker Maths helps you improve the instructional experience by providing on-demand performance data.
Assessing pupil progress The SuccessMaker LMS gives you a variety of tools to view pupil progress in SuccessMaker Maths. Reports are the primary means of monitoring pupil progress in the course. They provide the data you need to measure pupil progress and intervene when necessary. They also enable you to assist your pupils in several ways, including: Monitoring individual pupil performance over short-term and long-term periods Identifying each pupil’s strengths and weaknesses and planning appropriate instruction or intervention Reporting and comparing long-term pupil progress within pupil groups or between classes.
As each pupil progresses through the course, SuccessMaker maintains continuous records on the pupil’s performance which it then uses to make decisions about the pupil’s path in the course. The performance data is stored for each pupil and displayed in the Performance tab of the pupils module, in the mastery module, and in the reports. See Managing the pupil performance details, Using the mastery module, and Getting started with reports in the SuccessMaker Online Assistance for details.
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