Key stage 3 maths resource offers practical lesson advice

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
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Guidance to help key stage 2 and 3 teachers address some of the most common misconceptions in maths has been published by the Education Endowment Foundation.

Based on research evidence, it offers practical dos and don’ts and looks at mastery of the basics in areas such as fractions and arithmetic. There are eight areas covered, including:

  • Support for pupils as they make the transition from primary to secondary school, when attitudes and attainment in the subject tend to dip.
  • The use of physical objects and diagrams to help pupils engage with and understand maths concepts.
  • Helping pupils to become better problem-solvers, so that if they don’t know how to work something out they can draw on different strategies to help them make sense of it.
  • Using assessment of children’s maths to focus on the maths they find difficult.
  • Giving children who are struggling with maths additional support through high-quality one-on-one or small-group interventions.

Common misconceptions highlighted in the report include that pupils sometimes think multiplication makes bigger, division makes smaller, which is not the case when dealing with numbers less than 1. Learning to add fractions also is a common area of difficulty.

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “Getting to grips with basic maths is not just crucial for academic success and future job prospects. The skills we learnt at school help us with everyday life too. Yet a disadvantaged pupil is still much more likely to leave education without them.

“The practical and evidence-based steps in our latest guidance report are based on the best research available. They’re designed to help schools navigate the wealth of information out there and give all their pupils – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – the skills they need to succeed.”

The latest data shows that 54 per cent of pupils who are eligible for free school meals achieved the expected standard in maths by the end of primary school, compared to almost three-quarters 73 per cent of all other pupils.


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