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Using the National Strategies 'Maths Exemplification' Document (2008)

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mature_maths_trainee, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Ref: Document # 00366-2008

    Can anyone tell me more about the background, intended use, and actual use (or at least influence) of this document?
    [I've tried searching back in the TES forum archeives to see if this has been discussed before, but couldn't find a relevant thread].

    I first saw the document ages ago and was immediately impressed, but throughout my ITT I've never seen it referenced or significantly adopted / used by anyone. I know that it's now been formally 'withdrawn' in some sense, but is that because it was 'faulty' in some way, or ?? For me, there's still a great set of teaching ideas in there.

    Specific bits I'm really struggling with are:
    - who was the document really aimed at? Was it primarily intended to help leaders develop a SoW, or was it targetted at individual teachers in the expectation that we should / could adopt (some of) its ideas? [If so, were any actual teaching resources - Powerpoints or whatever - systematically created from it?]
    - The document's structured in terms of 'Year 7 pupils should...', 'Year 8 pupils should...' etc.. Why was it structured like this, rather than in terms of N.C. levels? I can't understand that at all. Do their 'end of Year 9' expectations equate to N.C. level 6 (which is my understanding of the generally expected level of students at end of KS3)?
    - To what extent was, or has, this document actually been implemented in practice? Was it ever comprehensively implemented by schools, or is it just the aggregation of lots of many different ideas and experiences? I ask because, although I certainly admire it, I've never seen anything like that degree of 'depth' and 'quality' achieved in my local schools (including at least 3 of those graded 'Outstanding'). Not for 95% of students at least. There just doesn't seem to be sufficient time to teach / investigate / embed all the knowledge and skills described in the document by 'the end of Year 7', 'the end of Year 8' etc. Was it deliberately very ambitious, or should I routinely expect to achieve there stated outcomes?

    As I said, I'd like to use this document more - in a systematic manner rather than just stealling the odd idea or two - but am struggling. If nothing else, I'll at least steal more and more ideas.

  2. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    In case anyone's not clear what MMT is referring to, this is the big fat Framework of Examples file from the National Strategies. It was first published in 2001 and schools got a bazillion copies, the reference number given by MMT is a later electronic reprint - essentially the same content but with a different typeface!
  3. strawbs

    strawbs Occasional commenter

    used to use it years ago; thought it was great then; haven't touched it for ages...probably lurking on a shelf somewhere
  4. Hi MMT - you have raised some great points here.
    Some ITE institutions make significant use of it.
    Adam has given some background to this already. The original "Numeracy Strategy" was a primary document and as such was aimed largely at non-specialists. It aimed to help teachers understand what was required at each age group.
    This strategy was so successful ([​IMG]) at primary level that it was rolled out to secondary too and was originally published as a folder. Section 4 of this document was an earlier version of the document you are referring to and was called the "supplement of examples". Essentially, it tried to answer the questions that teachers might ask about what particular statements in the strategy mean, so we would know what sort of equations pupils in Yr 7, Yr 8, etc would be expected to solve.
    It could therefore be used either to inform the creation of a scheme of work, the purchase or textbooks, or by individual teachers. I think it is absolutely ideal for new teachers and for non-specialists in particular because it gives clear and obvious guidance as to what is meant at each point. Some of the ideas can make great teaching resources too (although that was not their primary intention)!
    My understanding is that at some point someone important in the Education Dept of Government got annoyed that parents don't understand what the different levels of attainment actually mean and decided that if parents knew their Yr 8 son was working on Yr 9 material then he was working a year ahead, but if he was working through the Yr 6 stuff then he was two years behind.
    My understanding was that the whole of the standards site (on which the strategy documents appeared) has been 'archived' because they were created under a different government, and that the pdf files that used to accompany the site have not been transferred but this does not mean that they need to be airbrushed out in a stalinist sort of way.
    What inevitably happened was that textbook writers made new books that claimed to cover the national strategy and schools bought these. I suspect few schools made significant use of this document.
    On one level it is nonsense to suggest that pupils should be able to do a particular list of things by the end of Yr 7 because there are so many local differences that will have a huge effect on how much pupils can learn, such as the organisation of the timetable (some schools have 5 hours of maths per fortnight in some year groups while others have 7 hours per fortnight).
    Using it to inform your own teaching sounds like a good plan - the only alternative I can think of is to use it to inform the writing of a new scheme of work, which may not be practical!
  5. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Ahhh. Thank you all for taking the time to explain.
    I had no idea it was a re-publication of a much older document (if stated, it must have been hidden away somewhere fairly obscure becuase I almost always look for the original publication dates in materials).
    It all makes a lot more sense now. Including the overly frequent references to 'pin boards', and very limited references to ICT [but I'd previously assumed that was just because the document was based upon well established, proven, teaching practices that were quite old, not because it the document was actually written so long ago!].
    I still like it a great deal, but now realise its impact (locally, at least) has clearly been even less significant than I'd imagined.

    I'll now attempt to re-purpose parts of the document for my own use. I wish it was available in an editable format (rather than secured PDF), but with a lot more effort I can probably get round that. :)
    Thanks again.
  6. mmmmmaths

    mmmmmaths New commenter

    I love geoboards.

    I once went on a course where someone had a good resource for geometry, it was an IWB geoboard that he used to demo things to the class. I said that I gave pupils geoboards and they could investigate for themselves. He seemed to think I was a dinosaur!

    The big blue folder, as we used to call it, is a great resource. I still have mine and still often use it.
  7. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    or click THIS is the address to go to for a more interactive version of the document. It's archived so not everything works perfectly, but it might be easier than cutting and pasting from the PDF.

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