Why the journey to mathematical excellence may be long in Scotland's primary schools

Sheila Henderson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    Abstract

    In the past 30 years mathematics curriculum reform in many countries has attempted to replace procedural approaches to learning with inquiry based learning that hopes to develop mathematical thinking. Scotland's Curriculum For Excellence can be seen as part of this trend. The success of such moves is highly dependent on the learning expreiences devised by teachers which in turn are informed by their own conceptual understanding of the content and processes of the subject. As mathematics curriculum reform has shifted from "an emphasis on knowing things to being able to do things" (Yates & Collins 2010:89) subject content detail has tended to be removed from curriculum documentation to be replaced by more global outcomes when it is the very detail teachers may need to prompt and augment their own subject knowledge.
    This study analysed data from national and international surveys of achievement to gauge how well prepared Scottish children are in mathematics. It also examined subject content and advised pedagogies in previous and current mathematics curriculum documents to ascertain how these have changed over time. On this basis, recommendations are made relating to national qualifications, initial teacher education and continuing professional development. The hope is that these can begin to inform future policy development on how best to prepare teachers to deliver mathematics within Curriculum for Excellence in such a way that will meet the high aspirations Scotland has for its young people.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)46-56
    Number of pages11
    JournalScottish Educational Review
    Volume44
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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