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Minister Needs Evidence To Back Her Claim Linking Structured Mathematics To Raising Achievement

The mathematics education research community in Aotearoa share growing concerns with the statements from the Education Minister of the need for structured mathematics to raise student achievement.

It is unclear what the Minister means by structured mathematics as this is a term that comes from one body of research in relation to literacy rather than mathematics. If structured mathematics means teaching mathematics in a coherent, comprehensive way that covers the mathematics curriculum and serves Māori and Pacific students by supporting them to learn mathematics while also maintaining a strong positive cultural identity and sense of well-being, then we already have many educators and schools across Aotearoa that are achieving this and who we can learn from.

Jodie Hunter, AEC Spokesperson says, “For years, research in mathematics education highlights that a one-size-fits-all approach has failed and in addition is discriminatory for the very students (Maori and Pacific students) who are currently under-served in our education system.”

Succeeding in mathematics encompasses a wide range of aspects including developing procedural fluency and conceptual knowledge, learning to use mathematical practices such as explaining and justifying mathematical ideas, having a positive disposition towards mathematics, and seeing how mathematics connects to both home and community life outside of school.

If the Government wants to improve our results in mathematics education, a one size fits all approach will not help. Instead, the Minister needs to move away from relying on a small group of hand picked ‘experts’ and draw on the existing research and evidence from mathematics education research while also leaving professional leadership to the profession. Investment should be focused on supporting educators, leaders, and academics to do what they do best and providing ongoing opportunities for teacher learning.

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About Aotearoa Educators Collective

Aotearoa Educators Collective is an umbrella collective created to support education thought leaders who share a common interest in promoting progressive ideals in schooling. The group includes academics, principals and teachers and is not aligned to any political party.

These leaders choose to contribute to mainstream public debate through mainstream media based on their research, their lived professional experience and their standing within the sector.

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