Holding no students back or leaving anyone behind

The average Year 7 class has an eight year spread of ability, ranging from students who struggle to count to students who have a deep mathematical understanding and often lack challenge from aged-based content.

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The Head of Maths at Redcliffe State High School was  constantly disappointed to find that year after year,  the school’s top maths students would ‘hit a wall with their progress’ and drop to a less challenging maths course: ‘Something wasn’t working.’  

The loss of capable and keen maths students to non STEM related courses doesn’t get much media attention.  But it is an important contributor to the overall decline of Australian students studying senior mathematics at high school and University. The current focus on  broad skilling and high ATARs is contributing to the low engagement seen in maths subjects.  

The average Year 7 class has an eight  year spread of ability, ranging from  students who struggle to count to  students who have a deep mathematical  understanding and often lack challenge  from aged-based content.  

This wide range of levels creates an extremely  challenging situation in the classroom. Despite  teachers’ best efforts, struggling students will not  get the support they need to progress and the most  advanced students won’t be extended in their learning.  As teacher Rose Nahilland told us, ‘Having taught  Year 8 maths for the past three years, I often felt that  students at the top end were not being pushed to see  how far they could go or improve.’ 

Maths Pathway enables teachers to personalise the  learning experience for every student in the classroom.  Students access the content they are ready for based  on data pinpointing their precise learning needs.  

Teachers support their learning through targeted  instruction and Rich Learning, challenging high achieving  students to excel while supporting students at and  below the level to continuously grow. As Jacqueline Lee  at Emerald Secondary College explains, ‘We still need  to be pushing top-level kids and not allow them to  assume they’re always going to get 99% on something.  These types of students often give up when they get to  Advanced Maths courses because they’re used to things  being easy straight away. Maths Pathway students  learn to be pushed all the way through.’  

Rebecca from East Loddon P-12 College – a small  school in Dingee, Victoria with a cohort of 20 Year  12 students – told us that in 2020 they had the  first students who started Maths Pathway in Year  7 complete Year 12 Maths, and that exam results  were very pleasing . For the first time in five years  they had students doing Specialist Maths. Rebecca  further explains “In previous years we may have  had students that were capable but didn’t choose to  do it because they lacked confidence. Being able to  show the students on Maths Pathway that they have  completed the work required to do Specialist has  now given them confidence… we had three Year 11  students do Further Maths last year, and two of them  achieved a study score of 39, while one of the Year  12 students who started Maths Pathway in Year 8,  achieved a study score of 40.” 

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Maths Pathway combines evidence-based practices in a holistic model that supports teachers to deliver differentiated teaching and achieve greater student growth in the classroom.

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