7th December 2017 Newsletter
Improving Maths in Key Stages Two and Three
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published guidance to help teachers boost primary and secondary school pupils maths skills. Available to download from the EEF website, the 36-page document covers eight recommendations. Below, we take each recommendation and look at how Big Maths addresses each issue:
1. Use assessment to build on pupils’ existing knowledge and understanding.
The EEF recommends that it is important for assessment to not only be used to track pupil’s learning, but also to provide teachers with up-to-date and accurate information about what pupils know and don’t know.
The weekly Big Maths Beat That! challenges act as a fun, friendly assessment tool to inform teaching. Each of the questions within Big Maths Beat That! relates to a learning step within the Big Maths framework, pinpointing exactly where a child is in their learning journey.
2. Use manipulatives and representations.
The Key Stage two and three guidance document advises that physical objects, which pupils or teachers can touch and move, that are used to support the teaching and learning of maths, should be “used purposefully and appropriately in order to have an impact”.
Within Big Maths, and specifically the ‘Counting’ Progress Drive, children begin by learning to count out toys, and when they need to add more or take away. Big Maths promotes using materials to support teaching from the very beginning of the sequential learning steps.
3. Teach strategies for solving problems.
The EEF suggests that children don’t always have a readily available method to solve problems. They also suggest that a useful problem-solving strategy is to identify a simpler but related problem to help solve a more difficult question.
Children follow a logical learning process through Big Maths, with previous learning forming a foundation for later steps within their maths journey. For example, within the Addition Progress Drive, children will have secured earlier learning steps before reaching step 25, “I can solve any 2d + 2d number”. Step 25 prompts the children to partition the numbers and break down the problem into two new questions, which they have already mastered, to be able to solve the initial problem.
4. Enable pupils to develop a rich network of mathematical knowledge.
Big Maths helps children develop a network of mathematical knowledge by breaking up the primary mathematics curriculum into core numeracy and outer numeracy. With over 3,000 tailored resources, pupils work through Progress Drives for each part of the curriculum to unlock the next steps in their learning. By the time children reach the end of their primary education, Big Maths will have developed a deep understanding of each Progress Drive and allowed the child to reach their potential by becoming fully numerate.
5. Develop pupils’ independence and motivation.
In their report, the EEF suggest that teachers should encourage pupils to take responsibility for, and play an active role in, their own learning. They refer to this as developing metacognition – the pupil’s ability to think about their own thinking and learning.
Through the sequential learning steps within Big Maths Progress Drives, pupils are encouraged to follow their own learning and understand which step they are on throughout their learning journey.
6. Use tasks and resources to challenge and support pupils
The Big Maths website houses over 3,200 resources, designed to be used in succession. For each step in a child’s learning journey, teachers have access to resources titled Repeat’, ‘Revisit’, ‘Real Life Maths’, ‘Select’ and ‘Deeper Learning’. Repeat and Revisit resources ensure children are comfortable with a skill before applying it to Real Life Maths. This then leads into Select and Deeper Learning resources to develop deeper understanding and to embed knowledge in a child’s long-term memory. The Big Maths resources can save teachers up to five hours each week.
7. Use structured interventions to provide additional support.
Big Maths is the perfect tool for intervention because it identifies exactly where each and every child in a class is at with their learning. Through using Big Maths, teachers and support staff can easily see which children are making progress and which children need additional support to move onto their next learning steps. Parents can also see exactly where their child is at, giving them the opportunity to support their learning at home.
8. Support pupils to make a successful transition between primary and secondary school.
Like the EEF, Big Maths recognises that a number of children reach secondary school below the expected level in mathematics. Big Maths is on a mission to make every child fully numerate by the end of primary school. Every child has the potential to become fully numerate and teachers shouldn’t have to give up their own time to achieve this.