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 School Improvement:  Ben's Story
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Ben's Runchart

Ben was the ten year old second son of a single mother. He had  four siblings ranging in age from less than one to early teens.


Ben arrived at the RPS and was well behind most of his class.


The Task

  • To assist children to learn their tables the teachers have been giving children number fact grids with the numbers 1 to 12 randomly along the top and side.
  • Children were given a maximum of seven minutes to complete the task of answering as many questions as possible

When children can get almost all answers correct in less than 3 minutes they change to occasional maintenance testing: their 'number fact system' has stabilised and there is little point in further effort


Children track their mastery, the quantity of correct answers and the time taken.  


Here are Ben's results at the beginning and end of three weeks. The achievements are all due to Ben's efforts.


The teacher only showed him 

  • how to track his achievements 
  • identify what he knew and 
  • identify what he needed to learn.

Ben did the rest:


Aspect Initially After 3 Weeks
Mastery -few errors more than 10 1 ('mistake')
Quantity  - correct answers less than 60 144
Time taken 7 minutes a bit less than 7 minutes


In effect Ben learnt more than 80 number facts in three weeks. Not bad for a chronic underachiever.


See a mock up of Ben's runchart