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More Substantial Improvements In Maths Teaching

26 June 2002

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today announced more success for the new way of teaching maths in schools.

He told primary school principals meeting in Wellington that the evaluation of the Advanced Numeracy project shows an overall increase in student achievement.

“Students became more sophisticated in their mathematical thinking. Teacher attitudes towards maths - and the teaching of it - improved. Furthermore, student attitudes towards learning maths were improved as a result of their teachers participating in the project,” Trevor Mallard said.

“The ability of teachers’ and schools’ to communicate about maths teaching and learning was also vastly improved. The next stage is to look at case studies of successful numeracy teaching in low decile schools, compared with those that aren’t so successful. We hope this will allow us to gain an understanding of how to make sure everyone shares the gains.”

The Advanced Numeracy Project is for maths professional development programme for teachers of year 4-6 pupils. It leads on from the successful Early Numeracy Project involving 40,000 primary school children – which has also been a stunning success story.

“There’s a real upward trend now in literacy and numeracy. It started with Count Me In Too back in 2000, then the National Education Monitoring report in 2001 which showed big literacy gains. So far in 2002 we’ve had ENP and now this Advanced Numeracy Project”.

The research report, written by Dr Joanna Higgins of Wellington College of Education showed that over the 15 weeks of the Advanced Numeracy Project the students, from 90 schools the length of New Zealand, made gains in all six measured categories. These ranged from addition and subtraction to fractions and whole number identification. The improvements signal that most children made the vital transition from counting based strategies to part-whole thinking.

“The results have exceeded Ministry of Education expectations. I have asked the Ministry to ensure that all teachers of years four to six classes have opportunity to undertake the ANP professional development programme by 2005,” Trevor Mallard said.

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