Paradigms In Mathematical Education For The 21st Century 22 24 October 2009 Valencia SpainPresentation Transcript

high expectations safety nets and Yeap Ban Har National Institute of Education Nanyang Technological University Singapore [email_address] TEACHING & LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS IN SINGAPORE

Photo: Catholic High School (Primary) High Expectations in high-stakes national examinations

Said Mrs Vivian Weng: "I think the setters feel it'll be faster for them to compute with a calculator. So the problems they set are much more complex; there are more values, more steps. But it's unfair because this is the first time they can do so and they do not know what to expect!" … "The introduction of the use of calculators does not have any bearing on the difficulty of paper. The use of calculators has been introduced into the primary maths curriculum so as to enhance the teaching and learning of maths by expanding the repertoire of learning activities, to achieve a better balance between the time and effort spent developing problem solving skills and computation skills. Calculators can also help to reduce computational errors." … Another common gripe: There was not enough time for them to complete the paper. A private tutor, who declined to be named, told MediaCorp she concurred with parents' opinions. "This year's paper demanded more from students. It required them to read and understand more complex questions, and go through more steps, so time constraints would have been a concern," the 28-year-old said. Parents Up In Arms Over PSLE Mathematics Paper TODAY’S 10 OCT 2009 SINGAPORE: The first thing her son did when he came out from the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) maths paper on Thursday this week was to gesture as if he was "slitting his throat". "One look at his face and I thought 'oh no'. I could see that he felt he was condemned," said Mrs Karen Sng. "When he was telling me about how he couldn't answer some of the questions, he got very emotional and started crying. He said his hopes of getting (an) A* are dashed." Not for the first time, parents are up in arms over the PSLE Mathematics paper, which some have described as "unbelievably tough" this year. As recently as two years ago, the PSLE Mathematics paper had also caused a similar uproar. The reason for Thursday's tough paper, opined the seven parents whom MediaCorp spoke to, was because Primary 6 students were allowed to use calculators while solving Paper 2 for the first time. Paper 2 makes up 60 per cent of the entire paper and consists of 18 questions. parental expectations

Parents Up In Arms Over PSLE Mathematics Paper TODAY’S 10 OCT 2009 SINGAPORE: The first thing her son did when he came out from the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) maths paper on Thursday this week was to gesture as if he was "slitting his throat". "One look at his face and I thought 'oh no'. I could see that he felt he was condemned," said Mrs Karen Sng. "When he was telling me about how he couldn't answer some of the questions, he got very emotional and started crying. He said his hopes of getting (an) A* are dashed." Not for the first time, parents are up in arms over the PSLE Mathematics paper, which some have described as "unbelievably tough" this year. As recently as two years ago, the PSLE Mathematics paper had also caused a similar uproar. The reason for Thursday's tough paper, opined the seven parents whom MediaCorp spoke to, was because Primary 6 students were allowed to use calculators while solving Paper 2 for the first time. … Said Mrs Vivian Weng: "I think the setters feel it'll be faster for them to compute with a calculator. So the problems they set are much more complex; there are more values, more steps. But it's unfair because this is the first time they can do so and they do not know what to expect!" … "The introduction of the use of calculators does not have any bearing on the difficulty of paper. The use of calculators has been introduced into the primary maths curriculum so as to enhance the teaching and learning of maths by expanding the repertoire of learning activities, to achieve a better balance between the time and effort spent developing problem solving skills and computation skills. Calculators can also help to reduce computational errors." … Another common gripe: There was not enough time for them to complete the paper. A private tutor, who declined to be named, told MediaCorp she concurred with parents' opinions. "This year's paper demanded more from students. It required them to read and understand more complex questions, and go through more steps, so time constraints would have been a concern," the 28-year-old said.

Jim bought some chocolates and gave half of it to Ken. Ken bought some sweets and gave half of it to Jim. Jim ate 12 sweets and Ken ate 18 chocolates. The ratio of Jim's sweets to chocolates became 1 : 7 and the ratio of Ken's sweets to chocolates became 1 : 4. How many sweets did Ken buy? (Today’s 10 October 2009) chocolates Jim Ken sweets 12 18 12 3 parts 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 18 = 66 1 part 22 12 12 12 12 Half of the sweets Jim bought = 22 + 12 = 34 So Jim bought 68 sweets.`

curriculum expectations

David and Michael drove from Town A to Town B at different speeds. Both did not change their speeds throughout their journeys. David started his journey 30 minutes earlier than Michael. However, Michael reached Town B 50 minutes earlier than David. When Michael reached Town B, David had travelled 4/5 of the journey and was 75 km away from Town B. (Primary School Leaving Examination 2004-2008) assessment expectations

Yeap 2009 An Analysis of Released Items PSLE 2004 – 2008 Main Topic Basic-Skill Items Direct-Application Items Challenging Items Total Items Numbers 42 11 19 72 Measurements 7 19 14 40 Rate 1 8 10 19 Ratio & Percentage 2 7 10 19 Algebra 0 7 0 7 Geometry 11 12 11 34 Total 63 64 64 191

Photos: Seminar for Parents on Problem Solving “ Last Saturday, Mum and Dad went to school – to learn the model method so they can help me with schoolwork. But Mum said she did not get it. In the end I had to teach her.” home support

Photo: Telok Kurau Primary School “ Sometimes my teacher gives me remedial classes. Some people go for Maths Olympiad training. My maths is not good. I don’t go for that.” “ In my school, we have a fixed day for remedial lessons. I get a group of students to attend this regularly.” school suppo rt

Photo: Telok Kurau Primary School school support

Photo:: Catholic High School (Primary) Safety Nets in the education system

Photo: Princess Elizabeth Primary School Primary 1 students assessed not to have readiness for mathematics and English language are taken out during mathematics and English lessons. They learn in a smaller group with another teacher. This is the Learning Support Programme in Mathematics (LSM). The LSM is for Primary 1 and Primary 2 and aims to help students who may not have pre-primary schooling close the gap. Grades 1 and 2 learning support

Photo: Princess Elizabeth Primary School By the end of Primary 4, students who are assessed to not have mastered the basic competencies are recommended to study Foundation Mathematics in Primary 5 and Primary 6. Foundation Mathematics revisits key content in Primary 1 to Primary in an age-appropriate manner and includes just about sufficient Primary 5 and Primary 6 content for students to handles secondary school mathematics. Grades 4 and 5 foundation mathematics

Photo: Northlight School Students who failed the national examination by the end of primary school attend two schools set up specially to maximize the potential of such students. Run by dedicated principals and teachers with excellent track record in dealing with low-achieving students, the schools are free to develop and implement their own curriculum. Grade 7 onwards dedicated schools

available at math.nie.edu.sg/T3 Photo: PCF Kindergarten Pasir Ris West

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