Thursday, July 17, 2008

Measuring student progress in mathematics

There are key indicators to performance in mathematics. In number/algebra teachers look for certain things at certain stages - these are defined in scope and sequence documents released by DET this year in minimum benchmark form. I think though that minimum benchmarks are poor indicators of how a system is doing. So I propose a different set that parents could use to measure performance. (Note: this is not what to teach - just a general measure of progress)

year 1-4 - Students have 1-1 number correspondence. Students have a clear understanding of place value. Students recognise the relevance of operations, understand concepts such as odd/even and ascending descending and can reconstruct multiples of numbers up to 12.
year 4/5 - Student is confident in recognising and performing all operations (+-÷x) and can recite all tables up to and including 12.
year 6/7 - Student is confident with fractional quantities including estimating, adding, subtracting and multiplying a variety of fractions with a calculator but without using the "a b/c" button
year 8 - Students can perform confidently simple algebraic operations. Students understand the connection between an equation of a line and its drawn equivalent. Students can construct an equation of a line from a table of values or a graph.
year 9 - Students can manipulate linear and quadratic equations to shift them on a cartesian plane. Students can simplify confidently using index laws including negative indices and fractional indices. Students are confident at regrouping and solving simple equations.
year 10 - Students can factorise and use this knowledge to sketch and draw quadratic and linear equations. Students can plot curves, understand critical points on curves and use equations/graphs to perform optimisations, interpolate and extrapolate data.
year 11/12 - Students can use knowledge to solve complex worded problems with application in the real world including problems including statistics, calculus and numeric series.

For many parents these words make no sense - but a quick google of unknown terms can assist a parent in getting a clearer picture of what a student can do.

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