Addressing the needs of at-risk students in middle years numeracy

Year: 2006

Author: Breed, Margarita, Virgona, Jo

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Recent research has identified an 'eight-year' range in student mathematical achievement in any one year level in the middle years of schooling. In particular, it has identified the learning needs of at-risk students and the critical importance of finding ways to address those needs. This paper will share some of the findings from a recently completed teaching experiment with 9 'at-risk' Year 6 students conducted as part of the overall study over an 18 week period spanning terms 2 to 4, 2005 in two of the participating schools. Results indicate that the program was successful in improving at-risk students' ability to engage in tasks requiring multiplicative thinking. Shifts in students' understanding from inefficient additive approaches to more efficient multiplicative strategies and hurdles to student learning will be illustrated. The implications of adopting this program more broadly will be explored.