Improving Mathematical Literacy

The Problem

David thinks it is unacceptable that students are not always taught how to ‘speak’ mathematical language, and that this affects their NAPLAN and PAT-M test results. Kids at David’s school (and across the country!) often struggle to read and understand the meaning of text in Maths questions, and the consequent lower NAPLAN results are a cause of concern for David’s school community.

He believes in a school community where every learner can confidently ‘speak maths’, and can therefore demonstrate their numeracy abilities more accurately.

David’s Solution

David formed a Professional Learning Team back at school to find some of the causes for lower mathematical literacy in some students, and as a team they discussed the solutions available to them.

As a result of these discussions, David and his PLT designed a pre- and post- test for the unit of Probability in Year 8 Maths. These assessments included survey questions for the students, enabling the team to collect quantitative and qualitative data from their learners.

After the pretest, two Year 8 classes learned about Probability with teachers using Reciprocal Teaching (predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising). The post test took place at the end of the Probability Unit and both the quantitative and qualitative data showed both an increase in students’ achievement and in their confidence.

David’s Impact

David’s project positively impacted 80 students in 2017, and he looks forward to using his findings to inform his practices in the years to come!

One student wrote the following in response to a question in the Probability pre-test;

“I could answer this question because it had numbers and not lots of words!”

Like the idea?

David would love your support for Improving Mathematical Literacy, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and he’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where he can. Shoot an email to if you want to get in touch with David and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer him on in the comments below as well.

#WhatChangeLooksLike #ECStories #EduChange

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