YDM Accelerated Learning


YDM Accelerated Learning projects use YDM as a basis to develop teaching and learning modules of mathematics activities that can accelerate the learning of mathematically under performing students so the gap between their ability level in mathematics and their age level can be closed, allowing them to access higher year levels of mathematics.

The projects break mathematics into topics and then develop vertically sequenced units of work (called modules) that take the students from their ability level to their age level. Spending time on the foundations of topics enables later work with symbols to be more quickly learnt, accelerating normal progress.

The YDM Accelerated Learning approach was originally developed across 2010–13 for the Accelerated Indigenous Mathematics (AIM) project funded under the Australian Government's Closing the Gap: Expansion of Intensive Literacy and Numeracy program for Indigenous students. Information on AIM is included on the Teach Learn Share website of the Australian Government Department of Education.

Accelerated Indigenous Mathematics on Teach Learn Share website


Participants in Accelerated Learning projects receive professional development and materials that assist in accelerating mathematics learning in remedial students. Projects run across two or three years and include the following components:

  • resources including an Overview book and modules that provide vertical sequences of activities and assessment tasks to take students from their ability level to their age level
  • teacher professional development in using the modules to diagnose difficulties in student learning and accelerate learning to where students can access higher year levels successfully
  • online support through QUT Blackboard community site
  • action research training.

Accelerated Learning projects are based on materials and training that have been successful in a diverse range of Indigenous and low income schools. When implemented fully, these projects have enabled underperforming junior secondary students (Year 3 level and below at the start of secondary school) to gain understandings and confidence to be successful in Years 10–12 mathematics subjects (including Maths A and B).


Current projects

ARC Linkage XLR8 Maths

Project contacts: David Nutchey, Tom Cooper, Lyn English, Edlyn Grant

This Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project –LP120200591 Accelerating the mathematics learning of low socio-economic status junior secondary students, shortened to XLR8 Maths – partners with three state secondary schools in Brisbane and is built on a small pilot project conducted in 2010–11. The Linkage project runs from late 2012 until mid 2016. It provides a special program for students working approximately four years below the level of their peers in junior secondary cohorts to enable access to mainstream Year 10 classes. The project is underpinned by three pillars:

  • structured sequencing of maths topics
  • the RAMR pedagogy
  • supporting teachers in the classroom

The mathematical concepts explored in XLR8 are built on the twin trunks of Number and Algebra and their connections to Measurement, Geometry, Statistics and Probability. XLR8 modifies the strictly topic-based vertical curriculum of AIM to capitalise on connections to real contexts found in Measurement, Geometry, Statistics and Probability to reinforce and consolidate Number and Algebra concepts across a two- or three-year teaching span.

The project resources consist of 15 modules for Years 7 to 9 and include diagnostic and summative assessment. To date, the XLR8 cohorts of students in the project schools have made significant gains in their NAPLAN results.

XLR8 Maths project (participants only)

Accelerated Inclusive Mathematics (AIM)

Project contacts: Tom Cooper, Jim Lowe, Jan Cavanagh

The Accelerated Inclusive Mathematics project has been developed from the DEEWR-funded Closing the Gap: Expansion of Intensive Literacy and Numeracy program for Indigenous students, Accelerated Indigenous Mathematics project. The name has changed because the project now runs in schools where it is used with non-Indigenous as well as Indigenous students and because it has been reconceptualised for a wider role in these schools.

The overall objective for AIM is to develop theory and practice on how the mathematics learning of underperforming Years 7, 8 and 9 students can be accelerated to enable students to access later mathematics subjects. The components of AIM include:

  • resources – 24 culturally and contextually appropriate teaching modules (sequences of units) and tests designed so Years 3 to 9 mathematics can be taught in three years; the modules can be used by teachers as replacement for the Years 7 to 9 curriculum or as support for diagnosing and remediating mathematics difficulties and teaching mathematics topics
  • services – professional development workshops to train teachers in remedial pedagogy and in using the 24 modules, and an online support framework covering email communication, discussion forum and help desk
  • research – involving all teachers in action research on their practices, analysing data provided by teachers on the interaction between researcher actions, teacher practices and student learning, and drawing implications for modules and professional development workshops and for a theory of mathematics acceleration.

The 24 AIM modules provide teaching ideas for mathematics topics in sequence from Year 3 to Year 9. Because they include units of work up to Year 9, their final units are also a resource of age-appropriate activities to teach Years 7 to 9 mathematics, even for students with no difficulties. This enables the AIM modules to have much wider use in secondary schools by supporting all classroom mathematics teaching in Years 7 to 9.
Schools can use AIM in two ways:

  • replacement – replacing the Australian Curriculum for Years 7 to 9 with the 24 AIM modules
  • support – using the 24 modules to enable the Australian Curriculum to be implemented with diagnosis and remediation.

For Years 7–9, if student performance is very low, AIM modules can replace regular maths teaching. If student performance is only moderately low, the modules can be used within the regular maths classes to accelerate the learning of particular topics. In the latter case, schools can use the modules to develop Years 7–8 programs to accelerate learning to enable access to mainstream Year 9 mathematics.

Five large state secondary schools in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Mount Isa are currently running AIM in a variety of formats. NAPLAN results for students undertaking AIM in these schools are improving to a greater extent than for traditionally taught students.

AIM project (participants only)

Accelerated Inclusive Mathematics (AIM) Early Understandings

Project contacts: Tom Cooper, Robyn Anderson, Kim Alexander

This project is partnering with a primary school in North Queensland in 2015 and 2016 to develop a new set of nine AIM-style modules covering Prep to Year 2 material to improve Year 3 outcomes.

Many of the primary schools we work with have students coming to Prep year with little knowledge and background to schooling. They require teachers to focus on mathematics pre-number skills, such as identifying attributes, sorting and classifying, that are not needed in mainstream schools. Unless teachers fill in all the steps in these sequences, the students cannot catch up to their mainstream peers by Year 3.

The nine AIM Early Understandings modules include Pre-Foundational to Year 2 units in Number, Operations and Algebra, covering counting, patterning, functions and equations, place value, quantity, addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, fractions, and problem solving.

AIM Early Years Understandings project (participants only)

Past projects

Accelerated Indigenous Mathematics (AIM): 2010–13

The AIM project was funded under the Commonwealth Government's Closing the Gap: Expansion of Intensive Literacy and Numeracy program for Indigenous students. The project studied how the mathematical performance of underachieving Years 8–10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students could be accelerated to promote entry into higher-level mathematics offerings.

YDC researchers worked with Years 8–10 teachers, teacher aides, students, and community in nine Queensland regional schools with cohorts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to develop a mathematics program to accelerate the students' learning to where they could access mathematics subjects in Years 11–12 and therefore enhance their employment and life chances.

The project developed modules, sequenced over three years that are vertical sequences of learning to take students from their ability level to their age level in mathematics. This approach is based on using activity to build a solid base at ability level so that learning can be accelerated through later symbolic work.

The project has now been reconceptualised for wider use as the Accelerated Inclusive Mathematics project.

Accelerated Indigenous Mathematics on Teach Learn Share website

PEMO Partnering to Accelerate Mathematics (PAM): 2013–14

This project was an adaptation of AIM to non-Indigenous schools but across two years rather than three. The aim of the project was to build theory that informs practices to scaffold the accelerated learning of mathematics by underperforming Years 8–9 secondary students. PAM prepared these students to successfully undertake Year 10 and post-compulsory mathematics study at elementary (and above) levels with the view to entering tertiary education and/or prepared these students with suitable mathematical understanding to successfully enter and complete apprenticeships and traineeships.

PAM was funded for seven low income secondary schools in the Caboolture area by QUT using Higher Education Participation and Partnership (HEPP) program funding and was part of the PEMO set of projects (see PEMO YDM and PEMO MITI).

With the design of the research being based on action research, theory was built through the development, trial, evaluation and refinement of actual classroom activities which brought immediate benefits to these students and provided participating schools with resources and professional development to effectively teach mathematics to their students.

XLR8 Mathematics Pilot: 2010–11

The XLR8 Mathematics pilot project involved six Brisbane state secondary schools with high proportions of low SES, refugee and migrant students. It aimed to accelerate the mathematics level of underperforming Years 8-9 students to give them better access to Year 10-12 mathematics and beyond. The project provided professional development workshops and maths resource booklets based around the teaching of mathematics to accelerate students.



QUT YuMi Deadly Centre

Phone: +61 07 3138 0035
Fax: +61 07 3138 3985
Email: ydc@qut.edu.au

School of Curriculum
Faculty of Education
Queensland University of Technology
Kelvin Grove Campus
S Block, Victoria Park Road
Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059