Number Sensible

The Problem

Margy thinks it is unacceptable that nationally there was no improvement in Year 3 Numeracy NAPLAN scores between 2008 and 2015. Students lack number sense and basic fact knowledge, and there has been a decrease in the number of students with high mathematical literacy. Margy believes in a school where everyone has the right to be numerate and literate, and she spent time this year focussing and working towards that lofty goal in her school community.

Margy’s Solution

This year, Margy focussed on the targeted development of strategy use with basic number facts to improve student’s computational use and their confidence in Maths.

With the support of a team teacher, Margy collected data about their Year 3 and 4 students’ basic number fact knowledge. She used the 1 Minute Maths Test and Alistair McIntosh modules to help assess student levels. Using this information, Margy set up an individualised program for each student so that they could practice 3 facts at a time for homework and could use to test each other every morning in class. New (and differentiated) number facts were given out weekly, and recorded in the learner’s special practice books.

Teachers using Margy’s system touch base 1:1 with each student weekly (at least) to observe their skill development, to talk about strategy use (moving them on from ‘count on’ strategies) and to chat about their number confidence.

Having a mathematical mindset is part of the rhetoric used in lessons and students are encouraged to take control over their learning.

Margy’s Impact

So far, 56 Year 3 and 4 students, and 56 Year 3 students have benefitted from Margy’s new and improved approach to numeracy in her school.

“Both Year 3 teachers have said it has made it really clear about which students have efficient strategies and which students are stuck in ‘count on’ or ‘count all’. Armed with this deeper understanding, they can now address the problem.”

Like the idea?

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

#WhatChangeLooksLike #ECStories #EduChange

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