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Small class, mixed ability secondary maths teaching

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by fjingram, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. fjingram

    fjingram New commenter

    I need some help.

    I teach Maths at a very small school with small classes (15 to 18) but very wide ability ranges. In terms of GCSE potential:

    Y11 ranges from F to A*

    Y10 ranges from G to A** (by that I mean may well do an AS-level course in Y11)

    Y9 ranges from G to A*

    Y8 ranges from F to A** (by that I mean may well do an AS-level course in Y11)

    Y7 ranges from G to A*

    I’ve tried everything I can think off, such as letting each student progress at their own pace through the syllabus, unfettered (a group ‘solo’!); dividing the class into ability groups and teaching them in turn during a lesson (but the room is small and everyone gets distracted when I’m teaching one group and then they all get unsettled and unfocussed); whole class teaching (which is what I would like to do and the students would enjoy more) – but I find it impossible to pitch the academic level and set a pace which suit more than, say, a third of the class.

    Setting investigations that all can join in with is not too much of a problem, but finding investigations that fit the textbook topics (e.g. Entry, Foundation & Higher) and assessment schedule seems impossible to me.

    What to do? Any ideas? Any schemes of work? (We have just moved to use Pearson Edexcel.)

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    You know the answer, as well as anyone.

    Get rid of mixed ability teaching in maths with such discrepancies in their ability levels.
  3. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    but if there is only 1 year 7 class, 1 year 8 class etc what would you do - mixed year classes arranged by current ability?
  4. fjingram

    fjingram New commenter

    Yes, there's only 1 class per year. So I'm stuck with this extremely wide range within each class. Hence I need ideas.
  5. fjingram

    fjingram New commenter

    In your opinion, what is the practical maximum range of abilities that would leave no student disadvantaged? Or is this question invalid or ridiculous? Thanks

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