Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Lifting maths skills for secondary students

Lifting maths skills for secondary students

An estimated 10,000 years 9 and 10 students around the country are set to benefit next year from a new project designed to improve the teaching of mathematics in schools, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

"About 430 secondary school mathematics teachers, who teach around 10,000 students in maths, will take part in the Secondary Numeracy Project - a professional development project which will give teachers the skills to improve their teaching and understanding of their subject," Trevor Mallard said.

"The emphasis in this one million dollar pilot will be on the quality of teaching for those fully qualified in maths, and on lifting the knowledge and confidence of teachers without maths degrees.

"The big outcome we’re looking for is improved student learning of maths at years 9 and 10 (forms 3 and 4). The best way to achieve that is by increasing the quality of classroom teaching.

"A study in 2000 showed that our 15-year-olds are third in the OECD in numeracy skills but revealed that at the lower end there are large numbers of students not performing so well. Our government is determined to lift education standards so every single student benefits, and this project will be a key in delivering on this goal."

Up to 30 senior secondary maths teachers will be released and trained to be part-time facilitators of the new professional development programme across New Zealand.

"This builds on the success of the Numeracy Development Project in primary and intermediate schools since 2000. About 11,000 primary teachers (and 300,000 students) have taken part in these projects to increase the quality of maths teaching and learning, and the research clearly shows success," Trevor Mallard said.

From 2005, the secondary maths pilot programme will take similar approaches to the primary project as it focuses on improving the skills and confidence of teachers of years 9 and 10 students.

"The NCEA results over the last two years show weaknesses in algebra, and algebra will be one area of focus for the new project. This shows how valuable NCEA is proving. The detailed results inform teachers and schools about where they need to focus their lessons, in order to target the weaknesses in student performance that NCEA reveals.

"The pilot programme will be carefully evaluated and if there is certain evidence of success, the professional development approach could be made available to more secondary teachers."

Attached is a summary of the numeracy initiatives running in schools.

The Numeracy Projects 2004

This government is spending $11 million in 2004 on numeracy initiatives. Since 2000 $26 million has been invested in numeracy and mathematics initiatives.

Numeracy Professional Development Projects These aim to improve student achievement in mathematics, by improving classroom teaching at all levels. The projects: improve teacher confidence through addressing content knowledge and understanding of effective teaching and learning in mathematics. are based on recent research in New Zealand and internationally. Include an extensive workshop programme and facilitators who then provide considerable in-class support. The projects are: Early Numeracy Project (ENP) for years 0-3; Advanced Numeracy Project (ANP) for years 4-6; Intermediate Numeracy Project (INP) for years 7-8; Te Poutama Tau - a project for teachers in Mâori immersion settings; and Secondary Numeracy Project (SNP) which will begin in 2005. $1million annually through to 2007 has been allocated to ensure all primary and intermediate teachers have the opportunity to participate. By the end of 2004 about 14,000 teachers and 300,000 children will have participated in all of these projects.

Numeracy Project Assessment (NumPA) The Numeracy Project Assessment (NumPA) is an integral part of the new teaching approach. Through their professional development teachers learn to use the assessment as part of their regular classroom teaching. The NumPA results are entered on a national website database and record students’ progress. Schools can access the national data to establish targets for planning and reporting purposes. Teachers group students according to ability and use activities that will support students in both strategy and knowledge development.

Support materials for schools About $6 million has been spent on resources for schools since 2000. 53 booklets are available in the Figure It Out series - 35 have been translated for teachers in Maori medium settings and published as the He Tau Ano Te Tau series. Further booklets are being developed and translated. is the Ministry's maths resource centre offering support for the teaching of mathematics at levels 1-6 of the curriculum. It provides principals and teachers with access to all numeracy project information and materials which are constantly updated. The site also has links to other mathematics websites for teachers, children and parents. The web-site traffic has expanded exponentially each year. The literacy and numeracy test asTTle (Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning) are tests that enable teachers in years 5-7 to track the progress and achievement of both individual students and groups of students against national literacy and numeracy standards, and then target teaching to address students' weaknesses. Tests will be available for years 8 – 10 by December 2004.

Special numeracy projects in schools Five of the Ministry of Education’s schooling improvement projects focus on improving numeracy at all levels. These are the project involving all Kawerau schools, and three Auckland-based projects in Manurewa, Waitakere and Mt Wellington/Pamure (Tamaki). Schools participating in professional development linked to Iwi Partnership agreements are encouraged to participate in Te Poutama Tau. Iwi involved in this way in 2004 include Ngäti Porou, and Ngäpuhi. Tuwharetoa propose to join Te Poutama Tau in 2005.

Evaluations and Research Each numeracy project is independently evaluated and researched. The evaluation reports are available online at

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>





Featured InfoPages