Showing posts with label benchmarks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label benchmarks. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PD day 2 Yawn...

They say you only get what you put in. It's a bit hard when the opportunities for comment are limited to predetermined answers. The issues with planning in today's environment were clearly circumnavigated. It amounted to, plan guys, you're professionals do what you think is right. Oh, and here are five teaching stratagies.

Here were some of my questions and comments by PD staff
1. How many schools engage in values based education planning: few
2. Has middle schooling research been analysed before implementation at new schools: no, currently being investigated by ECU
3. It is important to know what is taught above and below your year group in any subject as kids may be at multiple levels: Duh!
4. There is significant slippage in year seven and nine due to adolescent hormones: True for some, excuse for most.

Here were some answers given by my fellow primary teachers.
1. "It is more important that students enjoy maths than have developed skills that they will retain."
2. "It is ok to teach to level three as lower ability students will switch off if they don't understand."
3. "Oh, is that what is taught in year 8. Why are you complaining - you don't have to do that much!"

..and I suppose it is ok to be able to write sentences with poor spelling, without capitals and full stops too. Numeracy is as important as literacy. Maths should not always be fun - it should have a fun element but there is a need to learn the skills too. Understanding without the ability to retain knowledge is a useless pursuit; you are building a house of straw without retention in mathematics. This is not rocket science people!

Here is some other useful stuff that is not common knowledge (apparently):
1. If a student is meeting outcomes and standards framework 'targets' then they are performing at the level of a reasonable student (eg. a 'B' student). Targets are meant to be the mean teaching point.
2. If a student is just reaching a NAPLAN benchmark, it describes a minimum performance requirement indicating assistance required. The child probably requires an IEP to lift him off the benchmark.

The obvious conclusion here is that many teachers are only teaching to targets and not extending into higher levels. This has always been the concern with developmental strategies - a developmental strategy in a heterogenous class relies on teachers teaching multiple levels nearly all the time and having strategies available to monitor performance and stretch students (a notoriously difficult task) - saying that good kids will pick it up later is clearly not good enough.

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.