# Maths ability of an 11 year old? Does that mean achieving a level 4? If so...

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by brambo, Mar 3, 2012.

1. ### brambo

...that would mean they would need to
(a) Pupils use their understanding of place value to multiply and divide whole numbers by 10 or 100. In solving number problems, pupils use a range of mental methods of computation with the four operations, including mental recall of multiplication facts up to 10 x 10 and quick derivation of corresponding division facts. They use efficient written methods of addition and subtraction and of short multiplication and division. They add and subtract decimals to two places and order decimals to three places. In solving problems with or without a calculator, pupils check the reasonableness of their results by reference to their knowledge of the context or to the size of the numbers. They recognise approximate proportions of a whole and use simple fractions and percentages to describe these. Pupils recognise and describe number patterns, and relationships including multiple, factor and square. They begin to use simple formulae expressed in words. Pupils use and interpret coordinates in the first quadrant.
(b) Pupils make 3D mathematical models by linking given faces or edges, draw common 2D shapes in different orientations on grids. They reflect simple shapes in a mirror line. They choose and use appropriate units and instruments, interpreting, with appropriate accuracy, numbers on a range of measuring instruments. They find perimeters of simple shapes and find areas by counting squares.
(c) Pupils collect discrete data and record them using a frequency table. They understand and use the mode and range to describe sets of data. They group data, where appropriate, in equal class intervals, represent collected data in frequency diagrams and interpret such diagrams. They construct and interpret simple line graphs.
These are the KS2 NC targets for L4. And that is the target for pupils to achieve when completing KS2, i.e. primary school.
Or can we take it that the statements issued with regard to the issue are lies?
Over the last eight years, the number of people with the numeracy skills of a primary school pupil has increased from 15 million to 17 million. It now equates to some 49 per cent of all 16- to 65-year-olds, figures show.
I for one would like to see the data gathered, the questions used (in particular) and how the survey was carried out.
I'll go further. The BBC website asked people to test their maths ability by trying several questions. The first was:
Q1. To clean a work surface, how much bleach is needed in half a litre of water?
CONCENTRATED BLEACH
Use diluted
- for work surfaces and basins (40ml bleach in five litres water)
- for bleaching whites (20ml bleach in five litres water)
- Soak for no longer than 45 minutes, rinse thoroughly

A) 2ml
B) 2.5ml
C) 4ml
D) 20ml

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9701000/9701303.stm
Given that it is meant to see whether you are better than primary level maths, shouldn't the L5 questions on a recent SATs paper be harder. Well, I''ve looked through the 2010 papers and 2009 papers and nothing requires as much interpretation as the above question.
The last question on the 2010 paper asked:
Here are two bags of marbles A and B
Each bag contains blue marbles and red marbles only.
A has 3 blue marbles and 3 red marbles
B has 6 blue marbles and 9 red marbles (the paper has a diagram of 2 two bags labelled A & B)
Liam chooses a marble from each bag without looking.
From which bag is he more likely to choose a blue marble.
Circle A or B (a graphic has A / B)
Explain how you know.
http://www.emaths.co.uk/SAT%20PAPERS/KS2%20SAT%20Papers/KS2%20Mathematics/Mathematics%20KS2%20SAT%202010/KS2%20SAT%202009%20Mathematics%20Paper%20B.PDF
Now excuse me, but if you want to see what ability adults have with regard to either secondary or primary pupils, give them all the same damn questions!
To my mind this is another damn LETS HIT THE TEACHING OF MATHEMATICS AT SCHOOL series of articles. Again and again they miss the point that mathematics isn't purely arithmetic. I'm getting a little sick of it personally.

2. ### PaulDGOccasional commenter

Yes, that's exactly what it is - note that the response from the government is that fixing this is something they're already addressing with moving to requiring a B in GCSE maths for Primary PGCE students and the Teach First scheme which will mean the very best graduates will go into teaching (replacing the dross currently teaching, obviously)

But again and again those in charge of how we are measured miss the point that without arithmetic, nothing else in maths makes sense to the kids so they can't really progress - and they miss the point that the electorate expects kids to come out of school with basic arithmetic ability.

3. ### brambo

I'll go further.
To get a Level 4 they needed 46 marks out of 100. Thats ~ 9 on the mental test and 18 on one written paper and 19 on the other written paper.
So what were the questions at these approximate points?
<u>Mental Test</u>
(10) Subtract 6.3 from 10
<u>Paper A</u>
(13) In effect an order of operations question. Two rectangles, length 45cm and length 20cm. A diagram shows two of the 20cm rectangles end to end on top of a 45cm rectangle and wants the difference in length. Below that on the diagram are three of the 20cm rectangles and the difference is wanted between that length and the 45cm rectangle above it.
<u>Paper B</u>
(12) A diagram shows four cards with the numbers 2, 4, 6 & 8 on them respectively.
Underneath is a 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication to fill in:
__ __ x __ __ > 5000
It says, "Use all four digit cards to make this number sentence correct."
Why not use these if that respective level is good enough to find out the required level of primary education?

4. ### brambo

I certainly don't disagree. In fact, I'm hopeful that the two strand mathematics advocated by many comes to pass asap.
I would argue with many educationalists that it is the fact that teachers had to make lessons more quick paced, with many activities, rather than reinforcement through practise that has caused many of the issues. For some children they have only just started to "understand" a concept and we are expected to move on. If we then question this educational mantra, we are told that our lesson wasn't differentiated enough or targetted at the right level.
Add in the fact that children arrive for school tired and hungry - which schools have to deal with by acting as parents by letting them nap or feeding them breakfast, so that their actual parents can absolve all responsibility - and you are already losing a battle to educate them.

5. ### Maths_MikeNew commenter

They are also assuming that level 5 studebts can do level 5 questions.
This is False. To get a level 5 in a test secure level 3 and 4 knowledge is sufficient.
Similiarly at GCSE if you get all the G to D questions correct you will comfortably achieve a gradeC award.
To set grade C questions alone and then suggest you are not as good as someone who got a C because you cant answer them is a complete misnomer

6. ### brambo

Completely agree.
One of the biggest issues with having levels/grades as they are, but one that unfortunately cannot be solved with testing as it stands.
And it is the issue with why A level students are often unable to do the course. They attain a grade B without any understanding of A* work and very often poor knowledge of work at grade A.

7. ### teselectronicOccasional commenter

I have just completed reading Chris Woodhead's book: A Desolation of Learning.
I have observed quite a few lessons myself from both a teaching and mid - management perspective.
This is a quotation from his book: "The assumption, as always with this Government, is that the more qualifications teachers have, the better they will teach. Sadly, the reverse in my experience is often the case."
First published 2009.
In conclusion, I agree with you PaulDG, regards,HH.

8. ### DMNew commenter

Wilshaw and Gove aside, you would struggle to find a less popular person to quote than Woodhead teselectronic.
May I proffer the words of self-help author Dr. Robert Anthony? "Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle."