Tassomai is a GCSE learning and revision program which helps close the attainment gap and levels the playing field for all students. It can be used by all pupils – including those with health problems, behavioural issues, those suffering from mental health issues or going through other difficult circumstances. It also allows children to work at their own pace but ensuring clear progress – and the best thing about Tassomai? Pupils can use it from home on their smartphones.
Editor Victoria Galligan spoke to founder Murray Morrison about its effect on attainment in the schools where Tassomai has become part of everyday life…
Practice, research and technology combine in this clever science revision programme, which is the brainchild of former teacher Murray. The overall aim is to take away the stress of learning from pupils, teachers and parents alike, with measurable results.
Murray said: “I have worked with children who had health or behaviour issues before, and saw how a range of difficulties, from anxiety to dyslexia, affected learning and the pupils’ ability to prepare for exams.
“My aim with Tassomai was to build the pupils’ confidence and improve the outcome of the exams. I worked closely with psychotherapist Madeline Inkin, who is a director at Tassomai, to create a platform which makes learning accessible and engaging while reducing the workload for teachers at the same time.”
Tassomai has built its reputation on its delivery of GCSE science content, though it also supports English, maths and French for students from Y6 to Y11, as well as A-Level sciences. ItsTassomai focuses primarily on the GCSE science syllabus, with content is tailored to different exam boards, and teachers can track pupils’ use of the app to see how much time they are spending on revision. This helps them to quickly identify the areas they are showing strengths or weaknesses in and to discuss this with the pupil or with parents.
The app has accessible features so pupils who are colourblind can use it, those with reading difficulties can choose spoken-word options, and on 4G the data usage is minimal so pupils are unlikely to use much of their allowance on Tassomai – for example, a YouTube clip uses around the same data as one month on the program.
Tassomai releases around 6-8 hours of revision a week for pupils and encourages users to practice over a long period of time, revisiting each topic in turn. It’s easy to identify the areas in which a pupil is struggling, allowing teachers to act by planning interventions or by revisiting as a whole class if needed.
The introduction of videos to Tassomai
Since September 2019 schools working with Tassomai have had access to a suite of 150 videos designed to target gaps in knowledge identified by their use of the program. The Tassomai algorithm automatically identifies students’ weaknesses and picks out a video targeted at helping them.
The addition of video content comes about after evidence showed it to have a significant impact on a students’ knowledge, recall and memory retention. In a research project overseen by academics from University College London and the Institute of Education’s UCL EDUCATE programme, the team measured the impact of brief, targeted intervention videos on short and long-term attainment.
When quizzed on a topic, GCSE science students who had been shown a related video subsequently answered correctly 70.7% of the time, compared to 27.6% for the control group that had not seen the video. All the students who answered correctly were questioned on the same topic a week later. Those that had originally watched the video answered correctly 52.3% of the time, compared to 41.5% for the control group: a 10% uplift in long term recall.
Murray said: “Because Tassomai’s algorithm is able to really identify weak areas we knew we had the potential to do something that was really targeted and focused towards the learner. “These short videos are digestible and accessible for each student and crucially, unlike other video based tools, Tassomai only shows videos to students when a weakness has been identified through their usage of the program.”
Why you should choose Tassomai
About 4,000 teachers now use Tassomai, after four years, and the results speak for themselves. In 2017, pupils who completed at least 80% of the program fared better at GCSE science than the national average. Half gained A or A*, compared to 21% of pupils nationally, and 90% gained C or above, compared to 68% across the country.
This is strong evidence to back up all of the evidence-based research which has gone into making the app – which, has won the award for Best Resource for Home Learning at Bett 2019.