Barracks Road Primary to boost numeracy with revolutionary Tabtor app

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

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Montego Bay, St James - WITH Jamaica's 2013 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) mathematics mean scores below 63 per cent, the high-achieving Barracks Road Primary School in St James has added another tool to its instructional arsenal to do its part in boosting this figure.

For this purpose, students at the institution have started using the revolutionary Tabtor app that is designed to provide teachers with "a pair of digital eyes over the shoulders of each child in every classroom," thanks to the Elsie Foster-Dublin led Barracks Road Apps Project.

Although there are others on the market, the Tabtor programme sets itself apart as it provides a point of learning analysis tool that assesses students' responses to every single question tackled. This means that a report is provided on the time spent, the number of attempts made, the steps taken to arrive at each response and more, on every worksheet a student attempts. Hence, the app is both a diagnostic and a teaching tool and teachers are able to immediately assess students' strengths and weaknesses and make the necessary adjustments.

Only two weeks into the initial run, the school is already seeing positive results.

Davion Reid, a teacher at the school, shared that "since the introduction of Tabtor, the students have become more enthused about mathematics. They see it as a learning game and I view it as a teacher's assistant."

Top scoring Tabtor student Angel Jackson added that, "Tabtor teaches me other aspects of mathematics that I am not used to such as fractions and percentages". Within the fortnight, Angel grossed 10,700 Tabtor points, by completing 16 worksheets with increasing accuracy. Completing the same number of worksheets manually would have required approximately six weeks.

Barracks Road Primary was recently presented with a total of 10 i-Pad tablets to be used for Tabtor instruction and 12 teachers were trained in the use of Tabtor as an instructional tool by Micheal Silva, head of sales, Tabtor. This, the third tranche of support is valued at $500,000.00.

Alanzo Jones, the principal at the school stated that he was especially appreciative of the attention the school is receiving from the project, as the school is sometimes a victim of its own success.

"There is the notion that schools that do very well are ok. But, having students do well in the grade 4 literacy test and GSAT is not enough. We also want to push our students beyond the basics and this project provides us with the resources to move forward," he argued.

Janet Madden, chairman of the Barracks Road School Board added that she was "truly excited about the presentation," because "it allows teachers to more adequately assist students for whom numeracy competency is a challenge".

The project is spearheaded by Elsie Foster Dublin, deputy mayor of Highland Park, New Jersey, and is funded by Elsie's Home Stays and Madden's Funeral Home.

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