Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

“An invaluable resource that saves teachers loads of time”

Gomer Junior School, Hampshire

Freckle is a self-paced online resource that meets students exactly where they are. Freckle provides coverage of standards and skills in maths throughout KS1-4. With its continuous adaptability to each student’s level and with over 70,000 unique maths questions, Freckle is an easy choice to help motivated and engage your pupils with maths practice.

Gomer Junior School has been using Star Maths since 2019 to support pupils’ maths progress and provide staff with critical information around pupil development and understanding in maths.

In 2021 because of Star Maths’ impact on supporting intervention and learning in maths, the school agreed to trial the new maths practice solution from Renaissance: Freckle!

We spoke to Maths Lead, Heather, who described the experiences and perceptions of Freckle amongst both staff and pupils who used the maths practice platform.

An instantly engaging resource for pupils

Heather explains that pupils from Year 3 up to Year 6 have been using Freckle over the last six months. Pupils especially love the avatars in Freckle, Heather explains. The avatars represent the pupils’ character as they head out on their maths practice journey within Freckle. Heather explains that the pupils are excited by Freckle. She elaborates that pupils remain engaged throughout as they enjoy trying to get strong scores in maths activities to earn points to customise their avatars.

Staff at Gomer Junior School appreciate that pupils are limited to how much time they can spend in the Freckle shop. Freckle sets time limits as to how long pupils can customise their character. These limits allow pupils to spend more time on their maths practice and not spend all their time in the Freckle shop. Heather shares that the character customisation feature is a great incentive to motivate pupils to do well in maths. She claims that Freckle has also encouraged pupils to share their latest scores and talk more about maths.

Adaptable tasks that are perfect for catch-up learning

Heather claims that there have been no problems regarding the difficulty of the questions posed to pupils in their respective Freckle practice tasks and activities. She explains that Freckle provides a simple platform for pupils to navigate. They have no problem carrying out their Freckle journey autonomously.

Heather explains that Freckle’s introduction came at just the right time for the school. It has been a valuable resource in assisting those pupils who require extra maths practice to catch up with lost learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Heather has noticed that Freckle has been particularly helpful for those pupils who are otherwise disengaged and reluctant to conduct regular maths practice. Freckle incorporates adaptive questions and tasks for all pupils based on their level of ability and aptitude. Therefore, Freckle allows pupils to remain engaged in their maths practice and keep moving forward, albeit slower than others.

Year 4 teacher, Laura, with her self-made Freckle pupil progress data folder

“With Freckle the questions are never too daunting for pupils because of the adaptability of the questions.”

She outlines pupils have learnt that there are never any tasks too daunting for them with Freckle due to the adaptiveness of the questions. Heather explains that this reassurance is especially apparent in the facts practice questions because pupils can visually see their progress moving forward. For example, with Fact Practice, pupils have the comfort of seeing that last time they have got three questions wrong, but in their most recent attempt, they only got one wrong. Therefore, the illustrative progress keeps them self-motivated to keep up their maths practice.

Heather notes that Freckle is especially powerful with encouraging peer to peer support. For example, Freckle will reveal which pupils in the class got specific questions and tasks correct to refer to them for advice and tips.

She claims that Freckle has also been great for pupils’ self-confidence. For example, The Freckle character ‘Bill’ will send post-activity reports to pupils. The report will inform the pupil that they are an ‘expert’ if they achieve a strong score. Pupils find this very motivating, Heather affirms.

Heather explains how Freckle has been beneficial for teachers and staff too. For example, she describes how some teachers supporting pupils who need additional catch-up support will use Freckle’s problem-solving activities to assist them. These intervention groups rely heavily on Freckle’s adaptive questions and suggested next steps for learning. Again, Heather explains that this is incredibly valuable for teachers.

Conversely, Heather explains how Freckle is an excellent resource for supporting pupils who are already enthusiastic and proficient with maths practice. She describes how the adaptive nature of Freckle will assign pupils demonstrating strong proficiency in maths questions that are more challenging for them.

Freckle incorporates ‘critical skills’ matched to age-related expectations for learning. After pupils have carried out their tasks and activities on Freckle, teachers will receive an overview for individual pupils. This overview will outline the critical skills that pupils must work on to see growth in different areas of maths, such as 3D shapes or number recall.

“Freckle will be a crucial resource for our school going into the new academic year because we know it can support maths intervention and practice for all pupils.”

Heather claims that Freckle will be a crucial resource for the school from the beginning of the new academic year. She states that Freckle will support maths intervention and practice for pupils in school. Additionally, Heather affirms that Freckle will be essential as a remote resource for homework or throughout holidays or if pupils are ever required to learn from home again.

Heather explains that Freckle offers an efficient resource for teachers to delegate appropriately challenge work to pupils to keep them engaged with maths practice. She explains that the school will definitely continue using Freckle going into the new school year.

Heather shares that even though there have been some issues with the language used in some activities and questions, this has actually encouraged pupils to re-read the question and interpret it differently. She describes how pupils stop and think about the questions as they realise they’re not written in the straightforward way that they would say out loud.

During the last six months of their time using Freckle, the school’s technical issues have been quickly addressed and fixed by the Renaissance support team, Heather states. In addition, she explains that since the school implemented Renaissance solutions, the general response and help provided by the Renaissance customer support team has always been efficient.

Insightful data that outlines accurate strategies for learning

As the reports from Star Maths are, Heather reports that the progress information provided by Freckle is apparent and easy to interpret. She explains that she loves seeing Freckle pupil activity notifications come through to her on weekends. These notifications illustrate which pupils have used Freckle over the weekend and who has gone up a level. Heather states that it is brilliant pupils are accessing Freckle on weekends!

Heather explains that one of her colleagues has put together their very own Freckle folder. Her colleague uses this folder to highlight the specific data and recommended next steps for practice that Freckle provides for her particular group of catch up pupils. With this insightful information provided by Freckle, Heather’s colleague knows precisely where to target each pupils’ respective next steps for learning.

“My staff and I will frequently refer to maths assessment data within Freckle. The reports are clear and outline each pupils’ accuracy and objectives based on their latest maths practice performance.”

Heather explains that she and her staff will frequently refer to the maths assessment data within Freckle. In the form of clear reports, this information outlines the accuracy and objectives for each individual pupil throughout a year group, class or group. In addition, Freckle will also recommend where to look and where to concentrate subsequent learning for each pupil. The learning suggestions from Freckle gives Heather practical strategies to offer appropriate intervention, thanks to the excellent data.

The school has recently begun linking Freckle with their Star Maths assessment solution within their respective Renaissance hosted website. Heather claims that this link is in anticipation of the upcoming start to the 21/22 academic year. She states that having crucial baseline data at the beginning of the year from Star Maths is imperative to teachers subsequent learning strategies.

With Freckle, teachers have a regular means of carrying out formative assessment and monitoring pupil progress between their prescheduled half-termly Star Maths assessments. In addition, Freckle and Star Maths both provide critical skills that advise teachers on the next steps for each pupil. Therefore, teachers at Gomer Junior School have more information about their pupils’ progress than ever before.

A core resource for the future

Put simply, Star Maths assessments identify pupils below benchmark, and Freckle allows staff to identify and provide appropriate invention for adequate catch-up opportunities.

Heather reveals that overall, Freckle has been hugely positive while the school have been using the resource. She elaborates that Freckle has shifted pupils’ attitude towards maths to one that is wholly positive. She claims that if you can get pupils to be positive about maths, you’re onto a winner.

“Freckle has been invaluable for us and has saved our teachers loads of time.”

Heather asserts that Freckle has been invaluable for the school over the last six months. She says that the maths practice resource saves teachers loads of time.

From now on, Heather affirms that both Freckle and Star Maths will be integral in providing the data and information to inform SLT meetings around pupil intervention and catch up. In addition, she knows that Renaissance solutions such as Star Maths and Star Reading provide accurate information. Therefore, she and her staff will have no concerns about the efficacy of Freckle.

In previous years Heather explains how Star Maths data accurately reflected pupil SATs scores. She elaborates that it gives staff confidence in the data. With Freckle’s engaging maths practice, teachers have a firm base to scaffold pupils learning future learning.

Pupil feedback!

  • “I like the fact it is online!”

  • “It makes me stop and think.”

  • “It’s so much fun making my character!”

To find out how your school can provide bespoke maths practice for all pupils with Freckle, click here.

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