Mathematics & Statistics Colloquium - Ms. Elizabeth Oldham, Trinity College Dublin

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - 15:00
MS Teams

Title: Changes in curriculum and assessment for school mathematics:  Ireland in international context

Speaker: Ms. Elizabeth Oldham, Trinity College Dublin

The talks will be held virtually this semester via Microsoft Teams. Link to join the meeting is given below.  All are welcome.
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Students who came through the Irish education system recently have experienced the impact of “Project Maths,” the major curriculum initiative for second-level mathematics that was introduced gradually over a period of several years, starting in 2008. Changes in the content addressed in the Leaving Certificate affected the intake to third level substantially, and increasingly, from 2012 to 2014. However, except for the small number of students who attended the so-called Phase 1 schools, the first full cycle of implementation – the revised Junior Certificate followed by the revised Leaving Certificate – was completed only in 2017 for those who did not do Transition Year and 2018 for those who did.  The extended period of change has made it difficult for third-level lecturers to adjust their expectations about incoming students’ knowledge, skills and dispositions towards mathematics.  It also means that evaluation of the initiative is problematic. The problems are exacerbated by the fact that the Junior Certificate course has already been altered (in the context of Junior Cycle reform across the curriculum).

This talk does not attempt to provide an evaluation of Project Maths.  Rather, it seeks to explain the rationale for key developments, framing them by taking a historical perspective and examining the changing context for mathematics education internationally as well as nationally.  It focuses on significant changes in content and assessment since the foundation of the state and in particular over the last sixty years. The main emphasis will be on the Higher Leaving Certificate; with regard to assessment, the talk draws on the invaluable archive of state examination papers compiled by David Malone and Hazel Murray.  Lively discussion will be welcomed!

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