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With private tuition being an unaffordable option for so many, 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.
Murray added: “About 4,000 teachers now use Tassomai, and it’s been running for four years.
“In some schools, GCSE pupils get tuition from college students on Saturday mornings, in Tassomai revision sessions. The pupils enjoy learning with younger ‘tutors’ and the students get paid, so everyone’s happy! The very first school to introduce Tassomai for their science GCSE cohort was Bedford High School in Leigh near Manchester. Since then we have added over 400 schools and 70,000 students to our platform – the very first Tassomai school – and is an example we’re keen for other settings to follow.”
The results – which can be viewed here – 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, by the way, won the award for Best Resource for Home Learning at Bett 2019.
Murray concluded: “We wanted to be able to unlock the potential within pupils, even though they might be experiencing difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, cuts in funding mean 1:2:1 teaching has become very expensive to schools – but for pupils who need that extra support, Tassomai can help.”
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