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It is our expectation at Castle Hall Academy that students complete 90 minutes of home learning each evening, comprising of: 30 minutes of reading; 30 minutes of knowledge organiser work; and 30 minutes of maths practice. The maths element of students’ home learning is set, marked and monitored using a brand new online platform called Sparx Maths. Sparx is an exciting platform that has been developed specifically for KS3 students in direct response to feedback from students, teachers and parents.
Sparx personalises each child’s home learning, creating a weekly set of questions tailored to their current level of understanding, confidence and learning pace. The questions are designed to be achievable whilst offering the stretch that students need to make progress. We believe that – if they use the support available within Sparx effectively – students can achieve 100% on each homework.
We appreciate that you will want to support your child with their home learning but please try not to help them with a question until they’ve had a go first! It is important that they complete their homework independently so that Sparx can accurately assess their level of understanding and set appropriately-pitched questions in the future. Students have access to support videos for each question should they need them. If your child is presented with the purple ‘seek help’ notification then at this point they can seek support from a parent, carer, peer or teacher.
Sparx ensures students cover the essential building blocks needed to make progress in maths and provides an opportunity to consolidate their learning. Research (sparx.co.uk/evidence) has shown that an average of 60 minutes a week of personalised maths home learning leads to clear progress. It is therefore advised that students do their homework as early as possible, so they have time to have a go themselves and seek help from their teacher, if needed, before the weekly hand-in deadline.
Alongside the compulsory home learning task that is set each week, Sparx Maths offers two additional sets of questions for students to complete – XP Boost and Target. XP Boost questions cover previously-taught topics and give students the opportunity to further consolidate their learning. Target tasks offer students a set of challenging extension questions to take their learning to the next level. All of the above tasks allow students to collect ‘XP Points’ which contribute to our weekly Sparx Superstars leaderboard.
If you have any further questions regarding Sparx Maths please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mr Duckworth, Head of Maths Faculty, or your child’s class teacher.
Educake provides online homework and revision for secondary maths, English, geography, computer science, history, physical education, business studies and the sciences. It’s based on a bank of thousands of specification-mapped questions. They’re automatically marked, they accept spelling mistakes, and they’ve been written by our authors, who are teachers and specialist subject editors.
Educake is a highly effective use of homework. The EEF suggests that homework is most effective when students practice content and/or skills. This is probably made even more effective by assigning individual students work based on their weaknesses highlighted by formative and summative assessment. Educake allows teachers to assign these targeted questions to individual students, based on their data.
Some of the questions are multiple choice, but most of them require students to type out one to three word answers, like this:
Teachers set quizzes in Educake by choosing an area of the specification and then selecting the questions they’d like to assign to their students. When their students log in, they’ll see the quiz at the top of the page. When they take the quiz they’ll get immediate feedback and so will the teacher.
Educake also helps students be more efficient about their revision. They can set themselves a quiz on any topic, and they can guide their decision with the Track Progress page, which shows them where their strengths and weaknesses are. Here’s what it looks like:
Educake also includes revision material. This allows students to study a topic in Educake before taking a quiz on it. The revision material is designed to be easy to read and straight to the point, with minimal distractions.
Your child will receive Educake login at school and be shown how to use this online platform. Science homework includes both written home learning using the knowledge organisers, and a set of Educake questions.