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A Current Affair - Mastering maths: what's the formula? Story


SHOW: A Current Affair

STORY TITLE: Mastering maths: what's the formula?

It's the subject at school so many of us parents loved to hate, so spare a thought for the thousands of students around Australia who will be sitting end-of-year maths exams over the next few weeks and many of them won't have heard of a new study program that's getting top marks from just about everyone who tries it, turning below average students into high achievers.

Six months ago, Belinda Russo was having a tough time mastering maths. But now, with the assistance of the computer-based program, Maths Power, she's shot from the bottom of her class to the top.

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"I was getting 41 percent and now I'm getting 90 percent, which is great," she says.

According to Anthony Tannous from Back to the Future Education, the statistics do speak for themselves. He reckons students regularly boost their marks from below-average to outstanding by using the program for just 20 minutes, three days a week.

"If the child doesn't understand it the first time, they can go back and do it again ... you can't do that in the classroom, you can't rewind your teacher," he says.

Originally, Maths Power was a homework package. But as a result of its widespread success, the program has been adapted for the classroom, and students at St Clair High School in Sydney are the first to utilise it.

Christie Kerrison and her younger brother Tim have been using Maths Power all year, with remarkable results.

"I was getting like low 50s, 60s, now I find I've got 95 percent," says Christie.

For Tim, the program has not only lifted his grades but also his outlook on the subject.

"You're using the latest technology and you get to move it [the cursor] around and it's just fun," he says.

St Clair principal, Alan Jones, says the program has been implemented as a test case. He feels it complements the role of the teacher in the classroom.

"The student needs the classroom teacher there. While they [the students] can work more independently, they need the classroom teacher as the point of reference," he explains.

Anthony Tannous believes Maths Power offers a cost-effective alternative to tutoring without compromising results.

"I can guarantee you any child who uses this program the way it's designed to be used will improve at school," he says.

And improvement fosters self-confidence according to Belinda Russo.

"I hated it [maths], but now I really like it. I'm enjoying it because I know what I'm talking about and know what I'm doing," she says.

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