Check In

Every unit of the schemes of work has a section dedicated to ‘prerequisites’. We have tried to list all the skills and understanding that is necessary to be able to progress with the new ideas within the unit.  Exactly how you use this information with a class will of course vary: it depends on the students you have in front of you.

To support teachers in assessing students’ understanding of the prerequisites we are creating these ‘Check In’ resources: every unit, 10 questions, answers included. That’s the idea anyway: here are example Check Ins for the first unit of each scheme of work.  The rest are available through a KM+ subscription.


It’s not quite a quiz, it’s not quite a test. It’s a Quest.

We didn’t want to go down the route of tests at the end of every unit, but we wanted something that would do more than just a ‘quick quiz’. Our solution is the ‘Quest’.

Every unit in the scheme of work is based on Key Learning Points. Each Quest provides two questions for every Key Learning Point.  The first question is a basic fluency problem. The second question asks pupils to analyse a piece of mathematics, and usually asks them whether they agree or disagree. This two-question idea is based on the ‘what it is’ and ‘what it is not’ aspects of ‘variation theory’ and teaching for mastery. The second question also addresses the AO2 key development raised by all the examination boards following the first two summer sittings of the new 9-1 GCSE.

A sample Quest from each scheme of work is provided here. The rest are available through a KM+ subscription.

So, how could they be used? Firstly, they are really helpful information for the teacher embarking on teaching a unit of work. For students, we’ve tried out a number of approaches at different times. For example, the two questions could be used at the end of a lesson. Alternatively, the whole Quest can be done individually as an open-book exercise. There are checklists buried away in the middle of each document, and these can be provided to students at the start of a unit, and then reviewed at the end.

Oh, and there are answers at the end of each document.

Build a Mathematician

Originally described as our ‘assessing without levels’ suite of assessment materials, BAM Tasks are intended to be used alongside the Kangaroo Maths schemes of work.  The structure for this way of assessing, and building a picture of a mathematician, is listed on the overview page of each scheme. This assessing with levels document summarises key information from all the stages.

BAM tasks are ideal to consolidate intended learning, support deliberate practice sessions and/or use as homework tasks. The carefully crafted questions have been designed to assess fluency, reasoning, problem solving and a student’s ability to apply their understanding. One further question will always focus on a misconception.  Students will really need to think deeply if they are to be successful with most or all of the questions on a BAM Task – this is intentional.  For some students, the bottom line is being successful at just the fluency and misconception questions.

This BAM Tracker enables teachers to build a picture of their students and generate individual profiles. It is based on an idea in ‘Embedded Formative Assessment’ (Dylan Wiliam, 2011), and the intention is that it is used formatively throughout a year. We’ve also provided an example of a completed tracker as it is useful to see the endpoint you are aiming for.

Got It

Take another look at the grey box at the top of each unit of the schemes of work. As a reminder, these contain the statements from the source document for starting the schemes – either the National Curriculum or the GCSE subject content and assessment objectives.

‘Got It?’ is a collection of holistic assessments designed to assess pupils’ understanding of all these key concepts within a stage and therefore help to build a mathematical profile against age related expectations. The assessments are structured such that Question 1 assesses statement 1 in our medium term plans; Question 2 assesses statement 2 and so on.  We used to use them as tests in the early days of the new curriculum, but things have moved on since then!

More on that later …