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A draft 'specification' of Core Numeracy Skills needed to fully engage with KS3 SoWs

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mature_maths_trainee, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    <font size="2">A recurring frustration amongst some posters on this forum (and me) seems to be that most Year 7 students (even many of those 'at' Level 5) don't arrive with the necessary 'core numeracy skills' to be able to properly access KS3 SoWs.</font><font size="2">Perhaps that means the KS3 SoW is 'wrong/inadequate', or perhaps it means that we need to have a clearer dialogue with our feeder Primary schools to try to match expectations and reality. Or, as I think DM playfully suggested, we just assume the problem will go away when the new Primary NC arrives because that will 'ensure a firm foundation in the basics'.</font><font size="2">Regardless of those issues, I'm interested to find out how much consensus there is (amongst Secondary teachers) on what exactly these 'Core Numeracy Skills' (needed to fully access KS3 SoW) are. I've had a go a listing and describing them in a draft document I've shared at:</font>http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/A-definition-of-Core-Numeracy-Skills-for-KS3-6195407/ <font size="2">and I'd be really interested in your views. Is it expecting too much of Year 6's (in precisely what respects?). Too little? Are there other essential skills that you require / expect students to possess, but which I haven't included in this list?</font>
    <font size="2">Please rememeber, it's not meant to describe what mathematical skills most students at Year 6 currently actually have - it's about what we can / should / might *reasonably expect* them to have.</font><font size="2"> </font> <font size="2">You might see that in the document itself I've also started to take it a step further, by considering exactly how each of these 'Core Skills' might actually be (efficiently and robustly) assessed in practice. But let's keep to the 'requirements' first of all.</font>
    <font size="2">MMT</font>
     
  2. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    <font size="2">A recurring frustration amongst some posters on this forum (and me) seems to be that most Year 7 students (even many of those 'at' Level 5) don't arrive with the necessary 'core numeracy skills' to be able to properly access KS3 SoWs.</font><font size="2">Perhaps that means the KS3 SoW is 'wrong/inadequate', or perhaps it means that we need to have a clearer dialogue with our feeder Primary schools to try to match expectations and reality. Or, as I think DM playfully suggested, we just assume the problem will go away when the new Primary NC arrives because that will 'ensure a firm foundation in the basics'.</font><font size="2">Regardless of those issues, I'm interested to find out how much consensus there is (amongst Secondary teachers) on what exactly these 'Core Numeracy Skills' (needed to fully access KS3 SoW) are. I've had a go a listing and describing them in a draft document I've shared at:</font>https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/A-definition-of-Core-Numeracy-Skills-for-KS3-6195407/ <font size="2">and I'd be really interested in your views. Is it expecting too much of Year 6's (in precisely what respects?). Too little? Are there other essential skills that you require / expect students to possess, but which I haven't included in this list?</font>
    <font size="2">Please rememeber, it's not meant to describe what mathematical skills most students at Year 6 currently actually have - it's about what we can / should / might *reasonably expect* them to have.</font><font size="2"> </font> <font size="2">You might see that in the document itself I've also started to take it a step further, by considering exactly how each of these 'Core Skills' might actually be (efficiently and robustly) assessed in practice. But let's keep to the 'requirements' first of all.</font>
    <font size="2">MMT</font>
     
  3. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Too much and too little

    I see no value in confusing them with directed number, so would remove N5. The targets for basic, 4 function arithmetic are not nearly demanding enough.

    4 function arithmetic should be extended to fractions (if my grandmother could do it nearly a 100 years ago, I don't see any reason at all why today's kids can't!)
    I wouldn't bother with M7 to M9. Leave those to secondary, please.

    BTW, I'm not against anything on your list - or anything at all, come to that - being taught in primary as long as the kids can do their basic 4 function arithmetic as well as my granny could first!
     
  4. I am arranging to go into our feeder primaries to see Y5/6 maths lessons in action. I hope to get a better understanding of how & what they learn, before using it to help create a new Y7 SoW.
    The SoW will be largely based around rich tasks, with lots of group work built in, and might be in mixed ability groups...
    The plan is to spend the first half term on the basics (the stuff you've listed seems to pretty much cover it!) and then maybe look at students being able to 'graduate' to the next level of topics, with those that need more time staying at the basics level.
    I couldn't agree more with what you are saying about essential skills that are lacking!
    The SoW is a work in progress (I still have to persuade skeptical colleagues that it will work...) but I will put it online, complete with links to rich tasks, once it's finished.
    I shall keep an eye on your list to see if I've missed anything! Thanks :)
     
  5. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Thanks for the feedback so far.
    The document's had over 100 downloads in the last couple of days so it's clearly of some interest, but I'd really apprciate if more people could share their views on it. Even just 'ok', or 'insufficient', or 'excessive' would be helpful.
    Cheers.
     
  6. I haven't read your document, but I'm curious as to whom you're writing it for. Is it just a personal thought exercise, a project for your department or something you hope will go further afield?
     
  7. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Which illustrates the core problem. Primary schools are not required to burn this stuff in (as it seems everyone expected when I was in primary and when my parents and grandparents were), but to "evidence" the kids "demonstrating" the skills.

    The difference, it seems to me, is the same difference between GCE and BTEC (which is perhaps something that Gove is also aware of with his belief in single end of course exams like GCE (and unlike many GCSEs)). "demonstrating a skill" really isn't the same thing as actually truly having that skill.

    It's because they haven't done enough repetition (or "consolidation"). (Not an easy thing to do when every lesson has to have a new bright and shiny Lesson Objective..)

    Same reason. They're whisked through, gaining enough to become familiar, but not enough to know.

    (For an excellent article on why this is see this article by Professor Daniel Willingham (why weren't we told about this guy's research when we did our PGCEs???).
     
  8. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    PaulDG,
    I agree almost 100%. Except that I'm not quite sure it's (definately, and purely) Primary's job to burn this stuff in. They certainly don't seem to be expected to do that (by the 'authorities', e.g. OFSTED, SMT, the examination bodies,...), in the same way that we (in secondary) aren't really heavily pressured, incentivised or expected to burn in any of their KS3/KS4 knowledge. All we're really expected to do is get the students a good GCSE result in a few one-off exams. A-level teachers, and Universities, blame Secondaries (<KS5) in the same way that you & I are blaming Primaries?
    The key point, I agree, is that *somebody* should recognise the importance of persistent knowledge in Maths, and so be incentivising schools to do this 'burning in'. I can't see any senior educational body with that on its agenda. Except maybe the National Numeracy campaign?
    I'm not sure if this is largely a UK problem, or international. I suspect it's partly (largely) a result of inappropriate pressures from OFSTED as to what constitutes 'good lessons', and 'learning'. [i.e. they seem to believe things are 'learnt' and progress is always visible in 20-40 minutes].
    Think we've a long wait for a burn-in requirement to happen 'top down', which is why I'm intending to work 'bottom up' with local Primary feeder schools.[Equally problematic maybe, but...].
    Thanks for the ref to Prof Willingham too. As you say, why aren't such insights much more widely shared during ITT?
    MMT
     
  9. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    No, it's not their job.
    But it should be. If we moved to a "graduation" scheme similar to Poland, we might see kids coming to secondary who actually can demonstrate in year 7 what they were supposed to know in year 6 (taught any Polish kids?)
    And it might soon become their job. The NC review may take a lot of the extras out of primary so the core can trully be sorted.
    And as apparently the riots were at least partly the fault of schools and talk of schools being fined for producing kids who can't read, maybe some schools will be able to justify taking all the kids who need concentrated literacy support completely off timetable until the required standard is met, and to monitor that standard and repeat if it drops.
    Improving literacy might not directly improve their maths - but at least they'd be able to read the questions!
     

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