PiXL Maths APP
APP for andriod and apple devices avaialable.
The PiXl Maths App is designed around the concept of PLC’s, students identify and work on their own personal areas for development. My class have the slogan “Going Green”, yes this links to recycling campaigns but it also links to what the students need to do. They need to become successful at the skills they aren’t so good at.
I continually tell my students
Don’t be afraid of improving slowly. Be afraid of standing still
This mantra is starting to pay off students are slowly raising the bar of their own expectations each time they achieve and the PiXL app is helping to make these small improvements notable for the students.
The maths PiXL App is a website/app that as a school we have been looking at incorporating for a while. Hetton School kindly allowed us to visit them on second last day before Christmas so they could explain the basic principles to us and from there I have explored it further and started to trial with my class.
Unfortunately if you aren’t a PiXL school this app isn’t available to yourselves, however a similar product that is currently free is Hegarty’s maths tutorial site, and the only thing missing is the exam GAP analysis. However with many schools within the UK being PiXL School’s I thought I would share with you what I have found out about the app. (I know I struggled to find a comprehensive guide myself.)
There are both staff and student Log in’s; I would advise looking at the site from both perspectives before launching with your class or department as there are subtle differences. It is quick and easy to upload classes from any year group when on the staff account by clicking class edit and then from there you are can bulk upload classes and students.
There are several areas a student may find useful the first being design a test (this button is a redundant button in the staff version). The design a test option allows students to select as many topics as they want to within that session and then provides the students with questions on each. It is important to note the numbers used within the questions will change every time a student attempts a test.
When a student has completed a test and they need to remember to press mark all, this will then tell students which questions they got correct or incorrect. From this a student may wish to watch the therapy videos if they made any mistakes. These therapy videos are also accessible to students when they are completing the tests.This allows a student may watch the 2 minute therapy video and then answer the question. The therapy video button is in the top left corner on each test underneath the logo. My students are finding these brief therapy ideal for short intervention and revision sessions at home.
Alongside this method of students testing themselves there is also the take a challenge option. Here students can choose what grade challenge they need to take. This then randomly selects the skills tests appropriate the grade. Students can resume these tests at any point by pressing the resume button.
After completing an activity the software tells the students which skills they were good at and what they need to improve on in sentences. If a student forgets though they can click on Skills Overview and either see their success lines move towards 100% for each topic area or look at the RAG (Red, Amber, Green) analysis for each skill. Therapy videos are accessible for each of these skills by pressing the little video icon.
As a teacher you can easily access the students results on these tests by going to class analysis and then selecting the form you would like it in. You can view the analysis in a RAG spreadsheet, which is downloadable, that allows you to spot vertical (whole class) issues and also horizontal (individual student) weaknesses. Another element I like is that you can also download PDF documents with the topics overview for students and their personalised what went well and even better if statements from the skills tests they have completed.
If you feel you wish to set any skills tests as class a homework you can do this very easily by going to the homework tasks column, selecting the class and then selected the skills tests you wish the students to complete. Students access the homework easily by going clicking the homework tasks button and the selecting begin homework. The students are unable to select the order they complete the tasks in though as they just load up in assigned order.
While we are talking about the homework tasks area I think it is important to note there is both WTM (Walking Talking Mocks) and WTMa (Walking Talking Maths) are also located in this area of the app. Here students can download either a past paper in the WTM area or a topic related question in the WTMa section attempt it and then watch the video which guides them through how to answer the exam or question.
Students can also track their progress within class by looking at the score board. This ranks the students off how many activities they have attempted.
The last section I want to briefly talk about is the GAP Analysis. This is where students can upload their scores for each question on past exam papers and gain a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) colour rating per question. It also provides the students with the topic the question was on, as well as providing feed forward questions.
Feed forward questions are simple questions in which the students attempt to answer after practising the skill and then they can quickly reveal the answer to see if they got this right. Currently there is no way of monitoring their answers online to these feed forward questions.
Staff can create their own GAP Analysis sheets by going to gap analysis -> create gap analysis. Then you can enter the title of paper, score per question, objectives and your own feedforwards. Although, many of the major exam board papers though are already available. An element I am struggling with at the moment is as more schools are adding to this section it is getting harder for the students to find the test they need to submit their scores for. An area of improvement I would love to see is this area becoming more personalised to schools with public and private options. This would allow schools to only make the exam papers they want to be visible for the students visible and would help avoid confusion.
However Like the skills tests you can download your whole class gap analysis in either a RAG spreadsheet or as a PDF, which provides the average score per question for the class and then individual student sheets with what went well and even better if comments for the students.
So there is a lot to take in above, there are some useful 'how to' videos appearing on the site which explains each section in more detail; however I hope this has given you a brief overview of the brilliant things the app has to offer. The feedback though from my students is they like it because it’s clear and instant. It tells them what they need to do to improve and they can practise both skills and link it to exam techniques. They like being able to track their own progress and revise literally anywhere. Another benefit is parents can also easily log on and see what their child has been doing and their areas of weakness.
I would certainly recommend having a play about with it before you launch to students. It is rather clunky but the level of analysis it produces more than makes up for that.