Mathletics case study: Heidelberg International School, Germany

Posted on 11th Oct 2017 in School News, Mathematics

The introduction of Mathletics at Heidelberg International School has ensured that pupils are given the right level of work and make rapid progress.

About the school

Heidelberg International School (HIS) in Germany is an independent, co-educational day school. 

The majority of pupils are American and German but the school caters for over 40 different nationalities.

In 2007, it became an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and for the last two years the school has achieved a 100% pass rate for the IB Diploma, compared to a world average of 80%. HIS is proud of the fact that its pupils have been awarded a high proportion of the highly prized bilingual diplomas.

Currently the school provides for 220 children aged 4-18. Classes are small and, in keeping with the IB philosophy, teachers encourage a spirit of enquiry, so in some lessons pupils ask rather than answer questions.

Previous students are pursuing degrees all over the world in a wide range of disciplines including medicine, international law, business management, art and design, biosciences, IT and computer science.

The challenges faced

Up until grade 10, there is no streaming in mathematics. Teachers will have the widest range of abilities in some groups, from children who are academically weak to those who are gifted and talented. While the school does not admit students with serious learning difficulties, it does have children who need some form of learning support so differentiation is the backbone of many lessons.

There is some parental pressure too. Many of the parents have high-level jobs and are keen to track their child’s achievements. Consequently, the school needed an online resource which would provide detailed, reliable data without taking up too much teacher time.

The solution

Thanks to Mathletics’ award winning interactive site, pupils at HIS are given just the right level of work and make rapid progress.

Joylene Vette-Guillaume heard about Mathletics in 2006 and was keen to try it because of recommendations from other teachers in international schools. She has found it to be an excellent solution, especially suitable for students in middle school where it is used in class, for homework and for special maths-themed days.

The computer provides a private space where pupils focus on the tasks they have been set and do not necessarily know what others are doing. This ensures that those pupils who are engaged in lower level work do not become disheartened. “We can be sure everyone is working at an appropriate level and that less able pupils do not lose their motivation.”

Mathletics ensures pupils can’t lose their work and staff, pupils and parents can go online and check progress. This means pupils do not slip through the net.

The benefits

Mathletics has proved to be a very engaging resource for pupils at Heidelberg International School. It has motivated children to practise and build their mathematical knowledge. Teachers find that pupils are becoming more confident and showing a positive attitude towards maths.

Mathletics has proved especially beneficial for the minority of students who struggle with writing and organisational skills. John, a grade 6 student, rarely completed his homework. He was very disorganised and never seemed to have a note of the assignment he should be working on. Mathletics solved the problem. He would go onto his computer at home and click on the set work and, because the program provides instant feedback, he was motivated to complete every piece of work his teacher had set.

Good resources help staff as much as the students and one feature Joylene particularly likes is the Mathletics introduction where teachers quickly learn how to set up their own course: “Even colleagues who are not IT confident find this very straightforward,” she said. “They can pick individual elements and make up a unit that will work for their class.”

One of her favourite features in Mathletics is the eBooks, an extensive library of printable resources for pupils and teachers. ‘These workbooks are really comprehensive. I have never come across handouts which are so good for developing concepts for pupils.”

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