#mathsjournalclub Third Poll

 Following on from our second successful discussion last week it is time to vote on the article for the next discussion. The next discussion will take place at 8pm on Monday the 7th of December. I know everyone gets busy in the run up to Christmas but I hope that you can all still take part.

Three article from the last poll have been rolled over to this one as two of them were tied in the number of votes. As usual, the titles and abstracts are below and the poll is available here

  • Contrasts in Mathematical Challenges in A-Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics, and Undergraduate Examinations; Ellie Darlington (Teaching Mathematics and its Applications) – This article describes part of a study which investigated the role of questions in students’ approaches to learning mathematics at the secondary/tertiary interface, focussing on the enculturation of students at the University of Oxford. Use of the Mathematical Assessment Task Hierarchy taxonomy revealed A-level Mathematics and Further Mathematics questions in England and Wales to focus on requiring students to demon- strate a routine use of procedures, whereas those in first-year undergraduate mathematics primarily required students to be able to draw implications, conclusions and to justify their answers and make conjectures.While these findings confirm the need for reforms of examinations at this level, questions must also be raised over the nature of undergraduate mathematics assessment, since it is sometimes possible for students to be awarded a first- class examination mark solely through stating known facts or reproducing something verbatim from lecture notes.
  • “‘Ability’ ideology and its consequential practices in primary mathematics” by Rachel Marks (Proceedings of the BSRLM 31 (2)) – ‘Ability’ is a powerful ideology in UK education, underscoring common practices such as setting. These have well documented impacts on pupils’ attainment and attitude in mathematics, particularly at the secondary school level. Less well understood are the impacts in primary mathematics. Further, there are a number of consequential practices of an ability ideology which may inhibit pupils’ learning. This paper uses data from one UK primary school drawn from my wider doctoral study to elucidate three such consequential practices. It examines why these issues arise and the impacts on pupils. The paper suggests that external pressures may bring practices previously seen in secondary mathematics into primary schools, where the environment intensifies the impacts on pupils.
  • “Train Spotters Paradise” by Dave Hewitt (Mathematics Teaching 140) – Mathematical exploration often focuses on looking at numerical results, finding patterns and generalising. Dave Hewitt suggests that there might be more to mathematics than this.
  • “Relational Understanding and Instrumental Understanding” by Richard Skemp (Mathematics Teaching 77)
  • “Knowing and not knowing how a task for use in a mathematics classroom might develop” by Colin Foster, Mike Owlerton and Anne Watson (Mathematics Teaching 247) – Participants at the July 2014 Institute of Mathematics Pedagogy (IMP14) engaged in a wide range of mathematical tasks and a great deal of pedagogical discussion during their four days last summer. Towards the end of IMP14 a conversation began regarding how much knowledge about a task a teacher needs to have before feeling comfortable taking it into the classroom.

I’m looking forward to seeing which article is selected as I haven’t read all of these yet!

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