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How do pupils practise Focus Skills?

All teachers can assign Focus Skills to pupils by creating Targeted Practice tasks. Now, Freckle automatically provides just-right Focus Skills sessions for Premium pupils who have Star Maths scores. This new independent practice mode identifies pupils' learning gaps and helps supercharge their growth!

While Adaptive Practice is domain-based (dividing practice into skill areas like Geometry or Fractions), Focus Skills span all domains and help pupils reach year proficiency more quickly. Visit https://www.renaissance.com/focus-skills to learn more about focus skills and how you can use them to prioritise class time.

How does Freckle choose which Focus Skills to show pupils?

First, Freckle combines each pupil's practice data with their most recent Star score to get a complete picture of the skills they have mastered. Then, Freckle prompts pupils to practise the first (most foundational) focus skill that they are not proficient in yet.

  1. Pupils who are eligible for this practice mode access it via the "Focus Skills" tile on their Maths Practice menu.

  2. From their briefing screen (pictured below), pupils can initiate a short session in the recommended focus skill. Within the session, pupils see the exact same experience found in teacher-assigned Targeted Practice.

    A sample briefing screen, showing the name of the session and the number of coins the pupil can earn for each correct answer.
  3. If a pupil struggles, their next practice session adapts to incorporate the focus skill's prerequisite skills. They can still work their way to mastery by demonstrating high accuracy in these prerequisite sessions. If a pupil demonstrates proficiency at a focus skill, Freckle celebrates their accomplishment with an animated summary screen:

    The message says: 'You mastered this skill!'
  4. The next time the pupil clicks on the "Focus Skills" tile, Freckle will prompt them to practise a new focus skill to fill in their next learning gap. Pupils who practise frequently will continue to fill in their learning gaps until they are proficient in all of the focus skills through their class year.
  5. Once pupils reach this finish line (the end of their class year), Focus Skills practice allows pupils to choose between two previously mastered focus skills so they can keep their knowledge fresh. In this way, the practice mode is ideal for both remediation and review!

    A focus skills practice screen. The pupil is presented with two skills they have already mastered, which they can choose to practise further. The pupil can earn coins for accuracy.

Who has access to Focus Skills during independent practice?

For now, "Focus Skills" is only available for pupils whose Star Maths scores are syncing into Freckle.

For those users, Freckle turns Focus Skills practice on by default for pupils in Years 3–9. Teachers are welcome to turn this practice on for younger or older pupils by enabling the "Focus Skills" tile from each pupil's Dashboard Settings screen.

The Edit Pupil page. On the Dashboard Settings tab, under Maths Settings, the Focus Skills tile has been selected, activating it.

How is Focus Skills similar to and different from Adaptive Maths?

When pupils practise Adaptive Maths, they choose a domain (e.g., Geometry or Fractions) and practise objectives at their level. Each objective is made up of skills.

Some objectives contain Focus Skills, or skills that are critical to a pupil's understanding of later material.

When pupils practise Adaptive Maths, they practise all objectives' skills across a single domain.

When pupils practise Focus Skills, they practise just these essential skills, which span multiple domains.

Adaptive Maths versus Focus Skills

Adaptive Maths

Focus Skills

Available by default for
Year 1 – 13 pupils

Available by default for
Year 3 – 9 pupils
with Star Maths scores*

All Skills
In a single domain

Just Focus Skills
Across multiple domains

10 questions / practice session

5–10 questions / practice session

Both adapt to pupil performance

* Available for students whose Star Maths scores are syncing into Freckle

How do they support differentiated practice?

Adaptive Maths

Focus Skills

Gives struggling pupils practice at their level within the specific domain your class is working on (e.g. Geometry).

Remediates struggling pupils by targeting their most critical learning gaps across all skill areas.

Adapts to advanced pupils by giving them practice above their year.

Gives advanced pupils opportunities to review & cement the most important material for their year.

* Available for pupils whose Star Maths scores are syncing into Freckle