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DfE warns maths will be tougher under new curriculum

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Betamale, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. "the latest international study from Pisa (the Programme for International Student Assessment) found that 15-year-olds in Shanghai were more than two years ahead of students in England."
    As with so many other countries
    We think we are good at Football, we are not
    We think our education system is good, its not
    Lets stop dodging the issue and force the IB on all UK schools and start ***** wanging with the worlds best players rather than championing the ever increasing GCSE A*-C results built on watered down 'teaching and learning'
  2. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    "The conference also heard that the evidence for primary maths pointed towards covering fewer areas in more depth.
    Tim Oates, who chairs the panel of experts overseeing the curriculum review, told the conference it was becoming clear that some high-performing countries covered fewer things in greater detail at primary - which then led to a much more dense secondary curriculum."
    This bit of the article makes sense. It's going to take a while for the impact of this to hit secondary though.
  3. I'm relatively new to teaching (1 year UQ and now coming to the end of the GTP), but this was my first realisation after just a few weeks back in a school. Some primary schools are doing really great, interesting things, and they're doing a good job of introducing a wide range of topics to kids, but there is no depth to the knowledge of any other than the top pupils. When I first started I would love hearing "we've done this before sir ... in years 5, 6, 7...." but I quickly realised that most only recognised the maths and couldn't remember, recall or implement any of it.
    Hopefully this will mean more time spent on times tables and basic number bonds. So many things will then be much easier to teach with that strong foundation.
  4. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    good analysis!!
  5. At ACME the justification from Mr Coles and Mr Oates for these revisions seemed to lie in a criticism of the 1998 curriculum which, in secondary, was replaced with the 2007/8 pos which I found to be a highly intelligent document which set a clear direction for the future without being too prescriptive as the 1998 one had been.
    When asked about this, Mr Oates replied that the 2007/8 curriculum was deeply flawed because some of the comments about Chemistry were not sufficiently detailed.

    I think the idea that we can centrally direct exactly which techniques students should learn, what order they must learn them in and when they should learn them has been proved to be flawed, due to the reality that children learn at different rates.
    However there is clear value in there being a system in place whereby we have a common core of mathematical vocabularly and techniques which is coherent, appropriate and is relatively easy to track using low stakes testing or observation. The revisions Tim Oates are proposing belong, therefore, not to the curriculum but to the testing and assessment regime which clearly needs substantial revision.
    We are only just beginning to address the most challenging demands of the 2007/8 curriculum which are the needs for students to work on contextualised and connected problems, for them select the mathematics they use for themselves. Teachers have found these challenges difficult to meet in the current testing and inspection environment and given that their skills in teaching in these ways have not been developed for many years. This does not indicate that the curriculum is at fault. It indicates that we still have a long way to go to be able to meet its demands.
  6. Research shows that is not so much the volume of time spent on these topics that matters it is more the way they are taught.
    So it is important to give students robust and transferable pictures and structures which support their thinking about tables and number bonds. Large volumes of drill practice can substitute for this in a way which would actually make them bad practice. Rapid fire questions are good so long as they do not become rote questions which force rote rather than connected learning.
    What we need here is high quality teacher CPD such as that which is being carried out through the Mast program.
  7. I doubt if maths will actually get any harder
  8. I think we need to look at what we mean by hard. Most students find it hard to explain their thinking and to stick with problems when they are stuck for a long time. But no, I didn't get the impression that's what Tim Oates had in mind.
    Which would you rather -
    That a child could thing with versatility and interact with people thinking in different ways to them, that they could contextualise their thinking and they stick at things when they get stuck
    That they can pass calculus exams when they are 14?
    I'll like to see them doing the work which will scaffold them to understand calculus later (which we are tempted to ignore, especially in 11-16 schools) but not yet being tested on the techniques unless they clearly have a special ability in that area.
  9. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    I think we perhaps need to stop and think what ResourceFinder meant. How about the idea that ResourceFinder might have been suggesting that mathematics itself (away from narrow concerns about which bits to teach to which people) is not of itself suddenly getting more difficult?
  10. That and a dislike of the concept that maths gets harder

    We have concrete and abstract ... once we leave concrete people either "understand" the concepts or try to "remember the rule" it is the fact that they are encouraged to "remember the rule" by teaching too much, too soon, too superficially at Primary that makes them think that maths is "hard"

    I was teaching the intersection of 2 lines in vector geometry to my Uppers today ... the level of understanding is well within the capacity of a bright 10 yr old ... the idea that we fill them up with rules for 12 years before they can attempt "hard" maths such as this is a nonsense
  11. There used to be lots of really nice stuff on vectors for year 7/8 pre-NC. See for example the SMP white booklets. Lots of geometrical stuff which allows students to explore the underlying structures of the ideas. Not much algebra.
  12. Just to clarify the relevance of that last post,
    If you write a tough and rapid curriculum, there is no time to do anything else. Which is not a good thing. Classes need some slack/take-up time and teachers should also have some freedom to innovate with content.
  13. <P> The cynic in me says that it won't take much writing - they'll just go into the stor cupboard and dust off a curriculum document from 50 years ago and say "That's what we want"
  14. 'store' not 'stor' obviously.
  15. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    You still in a different country then bbibbler?
  16. bbibbler

    bbibbler New commenter

    Still here for now, moving nearer home for the next contract.

    I will only be 8 hours away from mid August. Just around the corner.

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