In a ground-breaking development, *Maths Invaders* reports class average recall speed – a world first for any comparable product. Learn more.

This is no fancy gimmick – EdAlive research has shown clearly that regular use of Maths Invaders results in steady answer speed improvements, at the same time as demonstrating strong academic progress. Taken together, these multi-year improvements in maths age and speed gave rise to highly encouraging projections for NAPLAN results.

Indeed, the study demonstrated that, accessing *Maths Invaders* can offer simple, effective help for students – across the spectrum of current ability. While it is clearly important for students to expand their knowledge, it is also important that they grow in assurance of the knowledge they have, so that they can apply it with confidence. Performance in mathematics is not merely a product of *what* students know, but *how well* they know it.

**Measures of maths speed are the best indicator we have for this confidence.** Read the literature.

The research was in the form of a case study that analysed the class progression for speed and attainment of four Year 2 classes in the one school where there had been regular sustained use over a three term, 8-month period.

The school chosen for the study was Templeton Primary School located in Victoria Australia. Details of the use of Maths Invaders in the school have been given by Aidan Schanssema, Director of Teaching – Numeracy, from Templeton Primary School. Read the details.

The work built on an earlier Pilot Study that demonstrated a clear correlation between answer speed and attainment in *Maths Invaders* with NAPLAN scores.

- The more
*Maths Invaders*was used the greater the progression in both answer speed and academic attainment as evidenced the differing rates of progression from class to class - Average increase in class speed was 1-2 answers/min per term, total 3-6 answers/min over 3 terms
- Classes also made progress in attainment level as measured by the adaptive level within
*Maths Invaders***.**The rate of increase in both speed and attainment was constant over the three-term period with no evidence of ether reaching a plateau. - In classes from other schools where there had been occasional and inconsistent use there was little change in speed over the same period of time.
- This lack of progress in classes with minimal
*Maths Invaders*use indicates that the underlying classroom practice did not consistently lead to increases in answer speed over time. - Instilling confidence in young learners is highly important and leads to many benefits. Measures of maths speed are best indicators we have for this confidence.

Indeed, the study demonstrated that, accessing *Maths Invaders* can offer simple, effective help for students – across the spectrum of current ability. Whilst it is important for students to expand their knowledge, it is also important that they grow in assurance of the knowledge they have, so that they can apply it with confidence. Performance in mathematics is not merely a product of what students know, but* how well *they know it. **Measures of maths speed are the best indicator we have for this confidence. **

In an earlier pilot study, we looked at how classes performed at Year 3 and Year 5 levels, as summarised in the table below. The study showed that there was much variation in class speed, but a relatively small systematic progression between the average speed at Year 3 and at Year 5. We conclude from this data that teaching methods vary widely in their impact on maths speed.

Year Level | Classes | Maths Attainment (Maths Invaders) Mean (range) |
Maths Speed (answers/minute) Mean (range) |
Maths Speed (milliseconds) Mean |
---|---|---|---|---|

Year 3 | 22 | 28 (11 – 51) | 13.3 (11.2 – 22.0) | 4514 |

Year 5 | 20 | 39 (20 – 55) | 15.1 (12.9 – 16.9) | 3956 |

Since the pilot study, we looked at classes using *Maths Invaders* regularly over three terms and how their maths speed and attainment may progress. The answer speed results for four Year 2 classes (renamed) from Templeton Primary School in suburban Melbourne are shown below, for a time period spanning early Term 2 to the end of the school year 2023. For the last 22 weeks of that period, average Adaptive Learning Level is also shown. School holiday weeks have been excluded.

Aidan Schanssema, Director of Teaching – Numeracy has summarised the use Maths Invaders made at the school during the period in question.

During this period, students in classes 2C and 2E completed about 2000 *Maths Invaders* questions in adaptive mode, students in class 2B completed about 4000 of these questions and students in 2D completed over 9000. All classes can be observed to have made steady progress in both answer speed and attainment level – which was also sustained throughout the period with a little natural variation. There is some association between the higher levels of usage and higher rates of progress.

These four classes regularly showed speed gains between 1 answer/minute per term and 2 answers/minute per term. These gains were sustained over the period of the study, resulting in total gains of 3 answers/minute to 6 answers/minute. Note that these are class averages, demonstrating that the benefits are available for the best students through to the battling students.

Recall that the average speed progression across two years in the table above (a broad selection of classes and schools) was less than 2 answers/minute. On this basis, classes using Maths Invaders regularly can bridge that gap in only 1-2 terms and continue progressing towards the speeds attained by the fastest class we have seen – 22 answers/minute.

To help keep the gains in perspective, each graph below shows the Year 3 average (grey) and Year 5 average (green) from the pilot study, as a point on each vertical axis. We know that the school being studied has a high socio-economic rating, has highly motivated teachers and historically has performed very well in NAPLAN. Each class may be observed to commence at levels which are at or above expectation for their age. During the period charted each class has made dramatic gains in both speed and maths age as measured within *Maths Invaders*; the greatest gain in average maths age being around 3 years 6 months and smallest being approximately 2 years. These dramatic gains are far beyond age expectations. The background factors are certainly contributory to the observed maths ability, and it may also be concluded that exposure to *Maths Invaders* during the study period is clearly linked to an extended period of extraordinary progress.

The graphs show a decrease in attainment right at the end of the school year. We asked Aidan Schanssema, Director of Teaching at the school if there were any factors that might account for this. He advised that, “The drop off shown in the figures is a direct result of less use in the final few weeks of the year. Low to limited time on the program saw this drop off as other components around the school were prioritised. This included year level excursions, Christmas Carol practice and our transition sessions with the teachers for the following year”.

We also looked at classes which used *Maths Invaders* on an occasional basis over the three terms. None of those classes showed comparable gains in speed. This indicates that classroom maths instruction does not inherently foster confidence and speed, being justifiably focused on introducing new content. This underlines the importance of regular revision sessions to help solidify new knowledge. *Maths Invaders* adaptive learning also appears to be particularly effective in this regard.

The adaptive learning algorithm delivers each individual the questions at the best level for their consolidation and challenge – constantly adjusting during their learning journey. The engaging multi-player game *Space Rescue* also primes young minds to learn.

We have previously shown that weekly 30-minute sessions (or equivalent) over a school term can boost maths age by 12 months Read the research. This applies across a wide range of learning/age levels, and whether the student is starting ahead of the curve, or is trailing the class.

There is a time element to working in Space Rescue, but importantly this is in a fun, engaging environment. Therefore, high time pressure upon students is not created – in contrast to the common anxiety observed around a time classroom test. Rather, an individual is able to trust themselves, and be rewarded for taking modest risks to be competitive in the multi-player phase of the game – exactly the environment which grows precious confidence.

What does a confident student look like? Motivated – an enthusiastic learner who is ready to respond in class. Enjoys school and brings the right equipment to class, along with a great can-do attitude. Is engaged and has the perseverance to keep working on more challenging problems. Has a love of learning that spreads across subject areas, and will stay with them for life. Helpfully, they return from summer holidays without having “lost” learning from last year. Would you like more of these students in your class? And fewer who are either discouraged into tragically concluding that they are “just not good at maths”, or anxious and uncomfortable to demonstrate even the maths they do know?

Pooled data from the four classes above was used to assess progress achieved across the cohort, as shown in the figure below. Statistical linear progress is shown by the dotted lines. For attainment the gain was 13.6 adaptive learning levels (28.6 to 42.1) in 21 weeks, while answer speed saw gains of 5.1 questions/minute (12.4 to 17.5) over 28 weeks. For maths attainment, this result is remarkably consistent with our earlier finding of 12 months gain in maths age after one term of regular **Maths Invaders** use Read the research. The important differences were that this study period was twice as long and looked at classes rather than individuals. For answer speed, the progress compared very favourably to our own averages from Year 3 and Year 5 classes referenced above. Even though there are no reference standards for comparison we conclude however that the gains in answer speed are of at least equivalent merit in age-related impact to those of maths age.

The internal **Maths Invaders** scale of adaptive learning levels is somewhat limited and so we have taken the next step of predicting NAPLAN levels each week, based upon Maths Invaders attainment level and answer speed (graph below). The values were determined by applying the linear coefficients for answer speed and attainment level. This was based upon earlier research validating **Maths Invaders** results with NAPLAN in 2022 (Read the research). NAPLAN underwent significant changes implemented from 2023 so that direct comparisons across the 2022 / 2023 years are not recommended therefore we have based the predictions on the 2021 2022 NAPLAN results.

The linear trend in NAPLAN predictions for the Templeton Year 2 cohort using **Maths Invaders** showed progress from 448 NAPLAN units at week 21 to 513 NAPLAN units at week 42 – a gain of 65 NAPLAN units in 21 weeks, or just over 3 NAPLAN units per school week. This placed the Year 2 cohort studied ahead of the 2022 national NAPLAN average score for Year 5 of 488 units. Although this may seem implausible it needs to be noted that the starting point for the cohort was above the NAPLAN Year 3 average and the ending point was above the Templeton Year 3 NAPLAN result of 472 in 2022. By any reading this is an extraordinary result.

As an additional point of comparison, the national average NAPLAN progress between Year 3 and Year 5 was 88 NAPLAN units over 2 years – around 1.1 NAPLAN units for each school week. We have predicted significantly higher gains of just over 3 units per school week for the studied cohort using **Maths Invaders** on a regular basis, a dramatic difference. It is notable that there is no evidence in the data analysed of the rate of progress declining over time. We observe that the starting point for Year 2 was 448 NAPLAN points being 48 points above the Year 3 National NAPLAN average of 400 points in 2022. Clearly Templeton is a high performing school however there is a strong case that the use of **Maths Invaders** on a regular basis contributes to even greater progress.

Answer speed (when considered in addition to the effect of attainment level upon NAPLAN scores) was predicted to make a modest but important and direct contribution to NAPLAN levels. We would argue that there are also many longer-term benefits from fostering confidence among students, as Maths Invaders has been shown to do.

Extrapolating the 21-week period of the study over a 40-week school year **it is reasonable to conclude that an annual gain in the order of 3 years growth in maths age as measured by NAPLAN is attainable for classes using Maths Invaders on a regular basis.** This finding is broadly in line with a previous study that concluded that the regular use of **Maths Invaders** results in a gain of approximately 1 year’s progress in maths age in one 10-week term Read the research.

**Maths Invaders** comprehensively covers the mathematics curriculum for simple arithmetic, times tables and number facts. It has content rated up to Year 10 level, but it does not attempt to cover the full curriculum at these higher levels – which goes further and further beyond arithmetic. However, achieving solid results in the basics is no less important for more advanced students – it is the essential foundation.

Class speeds are shown on the weekly **Maths Invaders** Leaderboard (link: mathsinvaders.com). Click “Show All Results”, then select category Speed. Select an age range to see a complete list of classes. Classes will only appear if your EdAlive school *Administrator* has selected “Participate in competitions” on the Manage school page. Also make sure you have given the year level for your class in Manage Classes. Alternatively, deselect Group By/Age Brackets to see all classes in a single list, including those without age information.

Classes must exceed a minimum size and have a minimum proportion of students active in the current week. Details are updated every 15 minutes. The week resets each Sunday morning, but you can also look back at past weeks.

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