Progressive teaching of maths: the cause of all our troubles?

Posted in Teaching on February 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Whenever I chat to colleagues from physics or maths we tend to end up sharing our experiences and frustrations about teaching quantitative subjects to college students. Everyone, in all third level institutions, is exasperated …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 7 February]

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Can’t spell or do basic maths? Blame predictive text and calculators

Posted in Teaching on February 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Science is very good at spinning off new technologies that make life easier and make us more efficient. However, such technologies often have unforeseen negative consequences. Two such examples are electronic calculators and predictive text …” (more)

[William Reville, Irish Times, 2 February]

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Gender gap emerges in maths and science in Irish secondary schools

Posted in Teaching on December 7th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The gender gap is widening when it comes to science and maths in secondary schools, with boys performing significantly better than girls in the subjects …” (more)

[Joyce Fegan, Irish Examiner, 7 December]

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PISA findings a major endorsement of Irish teachers and students – TUI

Posted in Teaching on December 6th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has described the findings of the PISA 2015 study as an endorsement of the high quality work of Irish teachers and students at a time of hugely damaging cuts to education. In all three areas which were examined, the scores of Irish students were significantly above the OECD average …” (more)

[Teachers’ Union of Ireland, 6 December]

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Some quick thoughts on TIMSS

Posted in Teaching on December 1st, 2016 by steve

Ireland“TIMSS (Trends in International Maths and Science Study) doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like PISA but it is important nonetheless. The results from the 2015 tests have just been released and the Irish Report is available here. For a small country on the periphery of Europe, we are doing quite well …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 1 December]

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Performance in key subjects is not adding up

Posted in Teaching on November 29th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Science, technology, engineering and maths are critically important areas for modern society. Expertise in these so-called Stem subjects is vital to supporting future economic growth. The quality of our education in these subjects, then, needs to be of the highest quality …” (more)

[Irish Times, 29 November]

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Comments on the STEM report

Posted in Teaching on November 24th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“As far as I can make out, the STEM report arose out of a belief that: Students entering college lack basic STEM skills, especially in mathematics (True); Even college students lack ‘higher order’ skills like problem solving, analytical thinking etc. (Only partly true) …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 24 November]

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Major concerns emerge over students’ basic maths skills

Posted in Teaching on November 24th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Serious concerns over the basic skills of students in maths have emerged in a major review of so-called Stem subjects taught in Irish schools. The quality of graduates in so-called Stem subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – is considered crucial to the country’s economic future …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 24 November]

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How should we teach maths?

Posted in Teaching on November 23rd, 2016 by steve

Ireland“I’ll be upfront and say that this is how I think we should teach maths: The teacher should chart a course through the subject, explaining key and threshold concepts along the way. Students may not ‘get’ everything at the first attempt but …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 23 November]

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Why remembering the rules of maths is important

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on October 14th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Just this morning I gave my (third year) students a set of x-y data. During the previous lecture (which was on ultrafiltration) we derived a mathematical model that predicted y=b*ln(a/x) where a and b constants …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 14 October]

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Maths, memorisation and understanding

Posted in Teaching on October 9th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Much of the debate around the Leaving Certificate in Ireland centres on the issue of ‘rote learning’. Many commentators will express a desire that education should emphasise ‘understanding’, ‘critical thinking’ and ‘creativity’, the implication being that ‘skills’ like these can be developed in a way that doesn’t involve memorisation of some kind …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 8 October]

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More focus needed on maths in primary school, study finds

Posted in Teaching on September 29th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A greater focus on maths teaching at primary school may be needed to improve children’s performance at maths, a major study has found. While there has been a significant improvement in maths performance in recent years, the ability of children to tackle problem-solving has emerged as a real concern …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 29 September]

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Time spent on maths at schools varies by more than 100 hours

Posted in Teaching on September 14th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Some second-level school children are getting more than 100 extra hours of maths tuition than others, a new study reveals. The amount of time teenage students spend in maths classes varies hugely depending on the school they attend and the class they are in …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 14 September]

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Failure rate in maths indicates distorted education policy

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 25th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Conflicting policies within Government are causing distortions in the higher education access process, adding complexity and even confusion to a system that should be quite straightforward …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 24 August]

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Maths to be reviewed as 9% fail ordinary, more opt for foundation

Posted in Teaching on August 18th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The teaching and content of second-level maths classes is to come under scrutiny after disappointing Leaving Certificate results. This year’s results saw the return of a 9% failure rate among ordinary-level maths students, as well a big jump in the number of pupils opting to take the more basic foundation-level paper …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 18 August]

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Bruton to take ‘hard look’ at Leaving Cert maths curriculum

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 17th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education Richard Bruton has pledged to take a ‘hard look’ at the Leaving Cert maths curriculum following a high failure rate among candidates sitting the ordinary level paper this year. Almost 3,000 students failed to secure a minimum of a grade D in the ordinary level maths paper, an increase in the failure rate from 5.8% in 2015 to 9.2% this year …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 August]

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Leaving Cert: More than 4,000 pupils fail maths

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 17th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“More than 4,000 students have failed their Leaving Cert maths exams, effectively locking them out of many third-level courses which require a pass as a basic entry requirement.Grades in the higher level maths paper have stabilised with more than 70% securing an honour, but the failure rate …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 August]

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Higher failure rate in Ordinary level Maths cause for concern

Posted in Governance and administration on August 17th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The long wait is over. Today, some 58,466 Leaving Cert students will find out how they have performed in a landmark exam which may well shape their future career …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 August]

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Numbers taking Leaving Cert higher maths climbs to new high

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on June 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The number of Leaving Cert students taking higher-level maths continues to rise with more than a third of those sitting this year’s exams declaring for the more challenging paper. Some 35% of candidates have registered at higher level, although this is likely due to slip a few percentage points on the day …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien and Éanna Ó Caollaí, Irish Times, 8 June]

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Leaving Cert points bonus may be fuelling failure rate

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 6th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A further increase in the proportion of school leavers aiming to sit higher level maths exams will be watched carefully after fail grades rocketed in recent years. While students are encouraged by the prospect of additional points for college selection if they pass honours Leaving Certificate exams, the introduction of these 25 bonus points has also had some negative effects …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 6 June]

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