Boys, not girls, benefit from unconscious bias in maths

Posted in Research, Teaching on December 21st, 2021 by steve

Ireland“In its recent report on the Leaving Certificate results and the standardisation process undertaken, the State Examinations Commission highlights unconscious bias favouring female students …” (more)

[Selina McCoy, Delma Byrne and Pat O’Connor, Irish Times, 21 December]

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Irish students are top maths performers in EU, international study finds

Posted in Teaching on December 8th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Students across the island of Ireland are the top performers in maths across the European Union at both primary and second level, according to a major international study. The performance of students in Ireland at science is also significantly above the average …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 8 December]


Girls’ maths ability underestimated due to stereotypes, study finds

Posted in Research on October 9th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Gender stereotyping is resulting in girls’ performance at maths being significantly underestimated by teachers and parents from primary school onwards, according to new research. A study of 8,000 pupils in Ireland concludes that the perception that girls are not as good as boys is occurring at all levels of achievement, with the gap widest for high-performing girls …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 9 October]

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Striking a new balance in maths teaching

Posted in Teaching on July 14th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I studied chemical engineering in the 1980s and I can safely say that most of the computational techniques that we learned at that time are now obsolete. Graphical techniques, some of which were extraordinarily clever, abounded, and when no graphical method was available, we used frustratingly slow trial and error methods …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 14 July]


Was the Leaving Cert harder in the past?

Posted in Teaching on November 11th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – As Sean Byrne points out in his letter (November 7th), matrices, calculus and complex numbers were on the Leaving Cert, rather than the Inter Cert in the mid-1990s. However, that isn’t how my friend remembered it, and this makes the point that our memories of our own exam experiences can be fallible …” (more)

[David Malone, Irish Times, 11 November]

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Maths and the Leaving Certificate

Posted in Teaching on November 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Seán Byrne (Letters, November 7th) bemoans ‘the absence of matrices, calculus and complex numbers’ from a ‘modern maths exam’. Continuing, he states, ‘The topics listed were never on the Intermediate Certificate but they were essential topics on the Leaving Certificate until the 1990s’ …” (more)

[Fintan Gibney, Irish Times, 8 November]

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Was Leaving Certificate harder in past?

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – In an article on the issue of whether the Leaving Certificate was harder in the past than it is today (Education, November 5th), Dr David Malone of Maynooth University is quoted as stating that his research on this topic was prompted by a Tweet from a friend of his decrying the absence of matrices, calculus and complex numbers from a ‘modern Maths exam’ …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 7 November]

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Rise in honours Maths uptake to attain CAO bonus points ‘has not improved standards’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on October 11th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Bonus points in Leaving Cert higher-level Maths have not necessarily improved standards in the subject. Student uptake of the ‘honours’ paper has doubled since the bonus of 25 CAO points for a minimum 40% mark was introduced, but it has not been matched by a corresponding improvement in students’ ability in maths …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 11 October]

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The rise and rise of women in maths

Posted in Research on May 16th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The influential collection of biographical essays by Eric Temple Bell, Men of Mathematics, was published in 1937. It covered the lives of about 40 mathematicians, from ancient times to the beginning of the 20th century. The book inspired many boys to become mathematicians. However, it seems unlikely it inspired many girls …” (more)

[Peter Lynch, Irish Times, 16 May]

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Time for Project Maths experiment to end

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on December 27th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Over the past five years fewer than 50% students have attained H3 (and equivalent) or above in Higher Level LC Maths. Assuming this is not due to poor teaching, I believe it is now time to end the Project Maths experiment …” (more)

[Adrian Grenham, Irish Times, 27 December]

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Maths, rules and creativity

Posted in Teaching on September 21st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“I’m a chemical engineer. I’m ok at maths – competent but not a natural like this guy with whom I went to secondary school. Nevertheless, I have written a book on mathematical modelling. The book is not all that advanced – it mainly contains calculus and ordinary differential equations – but I’m kind of proud of it …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 21 September]

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Higher-level maths students performing well despite doubling in exam numbers

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 20th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Cert students are performing remarkably well in higher level maths despite a doubling in the proportion of students taking on the more challenging exam in recent years, according to a new study …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 20 August]

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Bruton plays down high failure rate in ordinary level maths

Posted in Teaching on August 16th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education Richard Bruton has said officials will examine whether there are ‘lessons to be learned’ from the volume of students who failed ordinary level maths in this year’s Leaving Cert exam. However, he played down concerns over the issue and said the proportion of failures at ordinary level was linked to greater numbers taking on the higher level paper …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 15 August]

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More than 3,700 Leaving Cert pupils fail maths exam

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 15th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“More than 3,700 students have failed their Leaving Cert maths papers, effectively locking them out of many third-level courses which require a pass as a basic entry requirement. The bulk of those who failed to secure a pass grade sat the ordinary-level paper where the failure rate was just under 10% …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 15 August]

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Increase in students opting for higher level papers

Posted in Teaching on August 15th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The results of the 2018 Leaving Cert indicate an increase in the number and percentage of students opting for higher level papers. This trend is driven in part by the movement downwards from 40% to 30% of what constitutes a failure in the eyes of third-level colleges, and many students have responded to this change by opting to study higher level subjects …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 15 August]

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Trees, Graphs and the Leaving Certificate

Posted in Teaching on December 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I’m starting to get the hang of some of the differences between things here in Ireland and the United Kingdom, both domestically and in the world of work. One of the most important points of variation that concerns academic life is the school system students go through before going to University …” (more)

[In the Dark, 15 December]

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Project Maths fails to lift Irish teenagers’ performance in subject

Posted in Teaching on November 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Irish teenagers’ performance in maths saw no significant change between 2012 and 2015, a report evaluating the impact of Project Maths says. It states Project Maths has had ‘a small positive impact’ on student performance as measured by international studies but that there are ‘clear challenges’ in teaching, learning and assessment …” (more)

[Sarah Burns, Irish Times, 14 November]

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A review of Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler: Part I

Posted in Teaching on November 8th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“At the second attempt I returned to Jo Boaler’s book Mathematical Mindsets. I really wanted to get an insight into what she is proposing because I have no doubt that the curriculum designers are planning to incorporate Boaler’s ideas into what will be Ireland’s revised primary school curriculum …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 7 November]


Study suggests overhaul of how maths is taught at primary level

Posted in Teaching on October 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Children’s progress in maths at the age of nine has a major influence through to Junior Certificate preparations and suggests a need to overhaul how it is taught at primary level, a leading education researcher says …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 19 October]

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Do students have any feel for maths?

Posted in Teaching on September 25th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Many times in my lectures I derive an equation and I ask my students how they would linearise the equation in such a way as to inform their data analysis …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 25 September]