Achieve A* GCSE after spending TWO days on a computer teaching aid, says inventor
- Hundreds predicted A*s with online teaching aid
- Revision tool sends private tutors to bottom of the class
- No GCSE pupil needs extra tuition, says inventor
- Model Elle Macpherson is among the converted
PUPILS are achieving A and A* GCSEs after spending the equivalent of just TWO days revising with a revolutionary new system.
The teaching aid, described as ‘addictive’ by one pupil, is so successful that it will make private tutors redundant, claims the man who created it.
The program – Tassomai – is so highly regarded at one school, Bedford High in Leigh, that the head has decided to let every pupil use it. Now four other schools in Wigan borough are following Bedford’s lead and adopting it.
And Torquay Academy, which has taken on Tassomai for all 161 of its GCSE cohort, is setting the program as daily homework right up until the exams in the summer.
The system, relying loosely on children’s addiction to computer games, has a celebrity fanbase. Supermodel Elle Macpherson is a convert, tweeting that her son – who had scored Cs and Ds in his Year 10 exams – went on to achieve straight A*s at GCSE.
Its inventor, Murray Morrison, promises to give parents their money back if their kids don’t make the grade having completed the program. “I’d go so far as to say that kids could miss a whole year of science classes, spend the equivalent of a couple of days in front of Tassomai spread over a week or two instead, and end up with an A or A star,’ he said.
“To put this in perspective, that’s the same amount of time that the average teenager spends gaming per week. ‘
The Tassomai teaching aid follows the ‘pub quiz’ principle in which a person is asked a set of multiple choice questions. To progress on to the next set of questions the pupil has to answer correctly. If they don’t, the program asks the question in a different way until the child is successful.
The key premise is that a child will see this as a challenge, and as in such games as Minecraft, would strive to get to the next level. Along the way, they memorise key information crucial when they sit their exam.
Peter Sugden, science teacher at Bedford High School, said: “We have seen some amazing results. In the first year we introduced the system we saw 75 per cent of our students starting to work at a level where they would achieve an A or A* grade in their GCSEs – that’s the same standard of results as you would expect in an independent school.
‘The real beauty of Tassomai is that the students can continue to keep up with those areas of the curriculum that we are not currently studying in class. So when they come into lessons they have that prior knowledge. It means a more efficient use of class time.’
“Because they are using this system to help them with their Science revision it means they can devote more time to other subjects. The knock on effect is that we are seeing improvements across the board.”
Science student Jerusha Bellis, 15, began using Tassomai for one area of her studies last year. She believes it’s no coincidence that’s she is now predicted to get at least an A grade in that particular subject.
“It doesn’t really seem like revision because I can sit and do a couple of exercises while I’m watching the television,’ said Jerusha. ‘Each one takes about two minutes and I try to do 10 a day, so it’s really not a big time commitment. However, I find once I’ve done one well, I’ll want to do another one straight away – it’s quite addictive like that.”
“I can also works well with other homework, so I can do Tassomai, then concentrate on another subject for a while, then go back and do another questionnaire.”
Jerusha is hoping to follow a career in Engineering when she finishes at Bedford, so good grades in the sciences are essential.
In her second year of GCSEs at Bedford High, she added: ‘My result last August was a B grade in Core Science: B for course work; B for Physics; B for Chemistry BUT an A in Biology. I believe this is due to the fact that I used Tassomai for Biology and not for the others.’
The software for Tassomai, backed by scientific research, top child psychologists and trials involving some 600 pupils, has been built, developed and refined over five years. It involves more than 40,000 multiple-choice questions that teach and test knowledge to children from the age of 7 up to GCSE level.
Morrison worked as a private tutor for fifteen years, developing the programme in parallel. He said: “It was clear to me that tuition wasn’t a guaranteed answer to preparing children for exams. For parents it was often a distress purchase – and expensive – with uncertain results.”
Harley Street child and adolescent psychotherapist Madeleine Inkin worked with Morrison during the development of Tassomai. She says it boosts children’s confidence: “This program teaches children to learn how to learn. They see that they’re achieving positive results and say to themselves: ‘I know this; I can do this.’”
Independent educational psychologist Lisa Hawking said: “The program not only taps into reward systems in the brain through a gaming model, but also offers the opportunity to improve computer literacy and improve learning through thorough revision of course subjects.’
Morrison’s software is aligned painstakingly to the GCSE, 13+ and 11+ syllabuses. A one-month course costs as little as £20, equivalent to half the cost of an hour’s tuition in some parts of the UK.
“I’m asking parents to gamble the cost of half an hour’s tuition to get their kids an A,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t take a GCSE in maths to work out that that’s a pretty good offer.’
Further details can be found at www.tassomai.com