The Otago Primary Principals' Association says the
Government is to blame for an Education Review Office report
which criticises many primary schools around the country for
not being flexible enough in the provision of their maths
The report, Mathematics in Years 4 to 8: Developing a
Responsive Curriculum, said about 50% of primary schools
could make a considerable difference to their pupils' maths
learning if they adjusted their curriculum to better meet
These schools were viewed as being ''partially effective''.
The report was based on reviews of 240 primary schools and
looked at what they were doing to raise the mathematics
achievement of pupils in years 4 to 8.
ERO chief executive and chief review officer Dr Graham Stoop
said the next step for ''partially effective'' schools was to
use their assessment information to design a mathematics
curriculum that worked for all pupils.
''By taking a more confident and integrated approach, this
large group of schools could move to having highly effective
curriculum review and design processes.
''This would make such a difference, particularly for
students who are currently achieving below the National
ERO found while most schools were very good at identifying
pupils needing more help in maths, they continued using the
same teaching strategies and programmes which they had tried
Few schools had evidence these approaches actually
accelerated the progress of struggling pupils.
Otago Primary Principals' Association immediate past
president Brent Caldwell said it might be a sign National
Standards had already started to negatively impact on
Ensuring classroom programmes were tailored to meet the
individual needs of pupils was a priority for all teachers,
''The use of assessment information to identify priority
learners and devising new and innovative strategies to assist
them is part and parcel of every teaching team's work.
''The ERO report quite rightly indicates that accelerating
the progress of students working below or well below the
mathematics standards is challenging for most schools.
''What is needed is less emphasis on grading children against
flawed standards and more resourcing put into support for
teachers and schools from specialist advisers.
''The Government's focus on accountability via National
Standards is a poor substitute for a proactive supportive
service that could be used to assist teachers and schools.''