Ministry’s concern over gaps in NZ maths teaching

Readers will be pleased to know that we already have a name for “space and shape” mathematics. It’s called geometry.

I put it to the Ministry of Education that students’ lack of exposure to “formal maths” is a direct consequence of students’ over-exposure to numeracy strategies. There are only so many hours in a school day, after all.

But let’s remain optimistic. The Ministry may never admit that the Numeracy Project was an abject failure, but the report paves the way for them to quietly sweep it under the carpet. The term “formal maths” suggests more direct teaching and less discovery-based learning.

Concern over gaps in NZ maths teaching – National – NZ Herald News
Students are not being taught enough “space and shape” mathematics and the “huge” learning gap is hurting achievement, the Ministry of Education says. – New Zealand Herald

School reforms ‘need to be tested’

“Too many education reforms are failing to measure success or failure in the classroom,” said Dr Andreas Schleicher. He is right, but in 2009, New Zealand’s National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) concluded that “…over the 12 years from 1997 to 2009 there has been a small net improvement in mathematics performance at year 4 level (held back from a larger improvement by the decline between 2001 and 2005 in basic fact knowledge), and essentially no net change in mathematics performance at year 8 level.”

So we did have an effective evaluation in place. What happened next? NEMP got shut down and the new curriculum remains intact. It really is time for parents and teachers to demand something better from the Ministry of Education.

School reforms ‘need to be tested’
Trillions of dollars are spent on education reforms around the world without any effective evaluation to see if changes have worked, says the OECD.

The ineffectiveness of modern teaching methods

“A review of more than 200 research studies to identify teaching elements with the strongest evidence of improving attainment was published by the UK’s Sutton Trust in October 2014. It identified common practices that have no grounding in research but can be harmful, including using praise lavishly, allowing learners to discover key ideas by themselves, grouping students by ability and presenting information to students based on their preferred learning style.” – Emeritus Prof. William Reville

The reason why modern teaching methods don’t work
Whole-class teaching, in which children learn to use their long-term memory, has been abandoned for a more personalised, naturalistic approach, and it’s been a disaster.