Phoenix Maths Project
Background to the Project
Many initiatives in South Africa at national, provincial and local level to improve Mathematics education in schools have, over the years, understandably been directed at the final years of senior secondary schooling.
The experience, however, of Maths educators is often that:
- learners arrive in the secondary school with vastly differing levels of Maths understanding;
- in many instances, learners' understanding of key maths skills and concepts is, at best, sketchy;
- in particular, the necessary foundation for moving on to algebra and geometry concepts is missing; and
- as a result, Maths remains for many learners a "foreign subject".
International, as well as South African, experience has continued to reinforce the opinion that in Numeracy/Mathematics, a large gap exists between primary and secondary/ high school education.
The Numeracy Consolidation Programme
Publishing Resource Solutions shares a belief in the necessity for focus at the critical Maths education level of school years (Grades) 7 and 8. Key Maths concepts and skills need to be consolidated either before or at the time that primary learners move to the next education levels.
Consequently, Publishing Resource Solutions developed and implemented our Numeracy Consolidation Programme of teacher mentoring and support, and learner skills development.
This Numeracy Consolidation Programme consolidates, at the end of primary and the beginning of secondary education, the key Maths skills and concepts that are necessary for learners to proceed to secondary schooling with confidence and with an increased chance of success. The Programme provides:
- Initial 1 or 2-day (or longer, as required) workshops at which teachers receive up-grade training in the teaching of Maths;
- Learner and teacher copies of Preparing for High School Maths;
- A selection of Maths activities designed to stimulate interest among learners (and teachers) in the world of numbers;
- A recommended week-by-week programme for teachers to apply for the duration of the Consolidation Programme;
- A baseline test of skills to be completed by all learners prior to commencement of the Consolidation Programme – which testing is assessed by the Phoenix Maths Project;
- Identification via this testing of learners' problem areas and the provision of guidance to teachers as to where to focus remediation efforts;
- Summative testing of all learners on completion of the Consolidation Programme – which testing is again assessed by the Phoenix Maths Project;
- Feedback to teachers on testing results, learner performance over Programme duration and areas for further skills reinforcement;
- Follow-up teacher workshops for teacher mentoring, and for further assessment and evaluation of teachers and of the effectiveness of the Consolidation Programme itself.
The Numeracy Consolidation Programme is supported by a course book Preparing for High School Maths.
In summary, the Numeracy Consolidation Programme diagnoses problem areas in Numeracy/ Mathematics, and assists teachers to improve learners' skills.