- Elastik will launch with over 100 UK schools and Multi-Academy Trusts to address learning gaps created by the pandemic and inequalities in learning
- Insight from Elastik could be used to directly support teachers in the UK’s 55 educational ‘cold spots’ and the National Tutoring Programme as part of the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda
- Schools working with Elastik can complete a comprehensive analysis of student learning gaps in under two weeks
Elastik, the pioneering analytics and assessment platform for schools, is launching in the UK to help schools and teachers urgently address gaps in learning that have been created or exacerbated by the pandemic. Designed by teachers, for teachers, Elastik maps student performance data against the national curriculum, so that teachers can quickly and easily pinpoint individual and class-wide learning needs. Elastik initially launched to help schools identify learning gaps in Western Australia in late 2020 and will now start working with over 100 schools and Multi-Academy Trusts including the Astrea Academy Trust which has schools in South Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire.
Between March 2020 and April 2021, students across the UK missed on average over half a year of normal, in-person schooling. Ofsted reports significant delays in educational development as a result of remote learning, with Year 1 and Year 2 pupils falling behind in topics such as phonics knowledge, number and symbol recognition, and number bonds. The Department for Education has identified 55 ‘cold spots’ where education outcome is the weakest to target intensive investment. Bridging the learning gap in areas like these will be one of the keys focuses of the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ policy. Teachers know that subjects missed, particularly at early stages, can fundamentally undermine teaching in later years where those topics need to be built upon. However, identifying precise gaps can be difficult and extremely time-consuming to address accurately. With more than a quarter of teachers in England working more than 59 hours per week, record stress levels are being recorded.
Elastik is a custom-built, software platform for schools, which uses the school’s historic data or data from new assessments to provide accurate student learning insights as well as automate time-consuming administration for teachers. Its proprietary analytics technology can identify student learning gaps from assessment data in under two weeks and map this to curriculum requirements at a granular level. From these insights, Elastik can develop detailed individual and class lesson plans for teachers to use as appropriate, delivering focus on areas that need addressing and saving essential time for teachers.
Jeremy Waters, Founder of Elastik, says:
“As a former teacher, I understand all too well the simultaneous pressures and privileges of teaching. My priority when establishing Elastik was to give teachers easy access to the insights across their pupil cohorts, take away as much admin as possible, and in turn support them to pursue their passion for teaching. Inequalities in learning are unfortunately not new, but as many in the sector will agree, gaps that were already there have been exacerbated by the pandemic and we are now at a crisis point across the vast majority of schools in the UK as teachers and pupils absences persist. To effectively address the government stated, ‘expected standards’ in reading, writing, and maths and to support children of all abilities to achieve their best, we must first establish where the specific learning gaps are so that teachers know where to focus their attention.”
Hywel Jones, from Astrea Academy Trust said:
“Our mission is to deliver the best possible education to every child. While the pandemic has caused significant challenges for education, we are pleased to be participating in a pilot with Elastik, to help the children who have struggled with remote learning or had reduced levels of concentration and ensure they are supported. Having the insight as to what our children have either missed or not understood properly at any stage of their schooling plays a fundamental part in our ability as teachers to lay the right educational foundations for them.”
Paul Kinsella, Headteacher of St Monica’s Catholic Primary School in Liverpool said:
“What I rate about Elastik is its ability to inform and empower our teaching. It pinpoints problem areas quickly and offers a real range of support, which teachers can use as they need to. The platform itself is extremely visual and easy to use, which means it has been rolled out quickly for staff to use without onerous IT or training requirements.”
The UK Education Blog asked Jeremy Waters the following questions:
Elastik claims to reduce the administrative burden for teachers, which is a key problem in the teaching profession. How does Elastik deliver this?
A recent study by UCL revealed that one in four teachers work a 60-hour week, and manual administration processes form a considerable part of this – tracking student progression, preparing lessons, sourcing learning material, and reporting on student process, not to mention marking.
Elastik helps to automate these processes:
- It triangulates assessment data and maps it to the curriculum, so that teachers can use its cutting-edge technology to identify learning gaps at the touch of a button.
- Elastik immediately generates lesson guides targeted to cover those specific areas of the curriculum, then automatically creates tailored assessments to ensure that the gaps have been effectively bridged.
- It cuts marking time, even for English where its real-time writing assessment module marks students’ work in real-time in accordance with curriculum-based criteria. Teachers are always in control.
- It generates comprehensive feedback reports, so teachers can effectively communicate more quickly and effectively with students, other teachers or teaching assistants, and at parent-teacher meetings.
- Its straightforward interface and visualisation of insights mean teachers don’t need to struggle with technology.
In what ways does Elastik empower teachers to deliver the best teaching while reducing the admin time?
Elastik is built by for teachers by teachers and is designed to support their core activities without adding to their stress levels.
Teachers tell us that Elastik gives them a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their class, so they can more easily decide how best to use their teaching time. Elastik can pinpoint the underlying problem, even it if was a concept taught in an earlier school year, so that teachers can ensure that children have a solid learning foundation to build on.
As well as supporting whole-class learning, Elastik also allows teachers to understand where individual children are struggling – whether they are underachievers or aiming for a top grade. Teachers can create focus groups and track progress, ensuring that all children meet their potential.
By reducing administration time and leveraging technology, Elastik frees teachers to be more targeted in their teaching, leaving more time to be creative and spontaneous in the classroom, secure in the knowledge that their lessons and assessments are developed in line with student needs.
How easy is Elastik to use and will teachers receive training?
Elastik is designed for teachers, not technologists. It is simple to set up and use. A single password gives a teacher access across Maths, English, and Science content from Key Stage 1-3. This makes it easy for them to their log in for reporting and teaching material. It’s easy enough for students to log in to use it for assessments or if remote learning is required.
Ultimately Elastik is about the human connection. This means giving teaches back time to teach. But it also means supporting teachers with the Elastik platform until they are fully confident. All schools working with Elastik receive hands-on training and support from Sales liaison officers who help schools get up and running and provide ongoing guidance. Every school is unique, with its own set of goals and challenges so the Elastik team is always on standby to help every user get the best out of the platform.
Elastik launched in the UK in January 2022. Since January 2021, the platform has been used in Australia, where it now works with over 400 schools, 103,000 students, and 13,971 teachers across the country to empower teaching staff to address unidentified gaps in their students’ curriculum-driven learning across Maths, English, and Science. Elastik delivers cutting-edge technology but was designed with the premise that technology cannot replace a teacher. Instead, it uses AI (smart algorithms and machine learning) to free teachers from administrative burdens, give them insights on student development, and let them focus on what they do best – helping students grow. Elastik recognises the challenges facing schools today and provides support and expertise to the school and the teachers. Rapid implementation delivers benefits immediately and ongoing guidance ensures that the value grows as Elastik becomes embedded. Teachers in Australia describe their approach as game-changing.