In today's rapidly evolving educational landscape, finding effective ways to support students' maths learning is more critical than ever. The FOCUS on Mathematics series, a comprehensive program grounded in research and designed for direct instruction, offers a powerful tool for teachers seeking to accelerate their students' maths mastery and foster a deep understanding of key concepts.

## The Proven Benefits of Direct Instruction in Maths

Direct instruction, a teacher-led approach that prioritises explicit explanations, modelling, and guided practice, has been consistently shown to be one of the most effective methods for teaching maths. The National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008) strongly recommends explicit instruction, particularly for students who struggle with maths, noting that it has "consistently positive effects on performance with word problems and computation."

FOCUS on Mathematics fully embraces this evidence-based approach, providing a structured and systematic curriculum that enables teachers to efficiently guide students through the learning process. Each lesson starts with a clear explanation of the targeted maths strategy, followed by modelled examples that demonstrate its application. This direct instruction approach ensures that students have a solid grasp of the concept before moving on to guided and independent practice.

## Targeted Practice for Lasting Mastery

A key strength of the FOCUS on Mathematics series is its emphasis on focused practice. With over 800 word problems throughout the series, students have abundant opportunities to apply and reinforce their understanding of essential maths strategies. This targeted practice is crucial for developing fluency and automaticity, which frees up cognitive resources for more complex problem-solving tasks.

The series covers six fundamental maths strategies: Building Number Sense, Using Estimation, Using Algebra, Using Geometry, Determining Probability and Averages, and Interpreting Graphs and Charts. By providing concentrated practice in each of these areas, FOCUS on Mathematics helps students build a robust foundation of strategic thinking skills that they can apply across a wide range of mathematical contexts.

## Scaffolding for Student Success

Effective direct instruction involves more than just explicit explanations; it also requires a carefully designed sequence of learning activities that gradually releases responsibility to the student. FOCUS on Mathematics excels in this area, offering a scaffolded instructional sequence that supports students at every stage of the learning process.

Each lesson begins with a "Learn About" section that provides modelled practice, followed by a "Lesson Preview" that offers guided practice with annotated examples. Students then progress to independent practice in the student book lessons, where they can apply their learning to a variety of word problems. This scaffolded approach ensures that students have the support they need to succeed while also fostering independence and self-efficacy.

## Formative Assessment and Progress Monitoring for Data-Driven Instruction

To ensure that students are making steady progress and to identify areas where additional support may be needed, FOCUS on Mathematics incorporates regular formative assessments and tracking tools. Student self-assessments, included after every five lessons, encourage learners to reflect on their understanding and set goals for improvement. Teacher assessment tools, such as the Class or Group Performance Graph, allow educators to track student progress and make data-driven instructional decisions.

By leveraging these assessment tools, teachers can effectively monitor student learning and provide targeted interventions as needed. This ongoing cycle of assessment and adjustment is a hallmark of effective direct instruction and a key feature of the FOCUS on Mathematics series.

## Empowering Teachers to Drive Maths Success with FOCUS on Mathematics

The FOCUS on Mathematics series provides a comprehensive, research-aligned approach to maths instruction that empowers teachers to help every student succeed. By combining direct instruction, focused practice, scaffolded support, and formative assessment, the series offers a powerful tool for accelerating maths mastery and building confident problem solvers.

As we navigate the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century education, it is more important than ever to equip our students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive. With FOCUS on Mathematics, teachers have an evidence-based, direct instruction solution that can help them achieve this goal, one maths strategy at a time.