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$5 million rollout of successful maths project

16 March 2005

$5 million rollout of successful maths project into secondary schools

About 1200 secondary school mathematics teachers across New Zealand will benefit from a $5.2million initiative announced today by Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

Since 2000, the Numeracy Development Project has lifted the skills of 14,000 primary and intermediate teachers. Mr Benson-Pope today announced a 50 per cent increase in funding for this programme to allow it to be extended into secondary schools.

Spending on teacher professional development in mathematics will rise from $10.8million to just over $16million over the next four years. This will enable over 100 'expert' secondary mathematics teachers to work with 1200 of their colleagues to lift secondary school achievement levels.

“We’ve had impressive success to date with up to 350,000 primary and intermediate students making gains in their maths learning because of better teaching”, said David Benson-Pope. "This project will support teachers to improve their practice, especially at Years 9 and 10."

Mr Benson-Pope says that internationally our 15-year-olds as a group are performing well at maths – being fourth in the OECD for numeracy skills. However, there remained groups of students who needed more help.

“We know from student results that too many students are not achieving as well as we would like in algebra and we could do much better in number concepts,” said Mr Benson-Pope. "Likewise, we can improve in areas of measurement, geometry and statistics."

Findings from a pilot confirmed the impact of the Numeracy Development Project on secondary students' overall achievement in mathematics. In particular, students from schools involved in the project performed significantly better in algebraic thinking than students from schools who had not taken part.

“The majority of teachers who will be in our classrooms over the next generation are already in schools," said Mr Benson-Pope. "We know that what teachers know and do are the biggest influences on student learning and achievement. The numeracy project has been successful in years 1 to 8. This significant new funding will build on that success in our secondary classrooms."

ENDS

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