Bring Back Column Addition to New Zealand’s Early Primary Maths Curriculum

In November 2016, Radio New Zealand reported that New Zealand’s 10-year-olds are the worst at maths in the English-speaking world.

Looking at the TIMSS2015 results,

  • only 25% of this group could add 385 to 5876 (2nd last, international average 66%)
  • only 20% of this group could divide 45 by 3 (11th last, international average 47%)
  • only 17% of this group could subtract 532 from 4809 (2nd last, international average 57%)
  • only 16% of this group could choose the correct answer to 27 x 43 (last, international average 51%)
  • That last question was multiple choice. New Zealand’s result is worse than what we would expect from random guessing (25%). The previous cycle of TIMSS suggests a constructed response success rate would have been lower. In TIMSS2011, a similar cohort of students finished last-equal among peers in participating developed countries:

    These results are unacceptable. We have far too many children who cannot perform basic numeracy tasks and the gap is widening. C’mon Kiwis, can’t we do better than this?!  Yes we can!

    Motivating article from 2013

    Statements of support from New Zealand mathematicians

    Useful links for teachers

    Campaign material