Maths Progress at Zero for Years; Pupils Aged 11 to 14 Don't Improve, Says Study

The Journal (Newcastle, England), December 7, 2007 | Go to article overview

Maths Progress at Zero for Years; Pupils Aged 11 to 14 Don't Improve, Says Study


Byline: By Tim Ross

SCHOOLS are having virtually no impact on the progress of 11 to 14-year-olds in maths, according to a major study released today.

There were short term increases in pupils' maths skills as they took national tests, but their abilities declined again once the Sats were over.

The Manchester University research found both the brightest pupils and those who struggled made almost no progress in the first three years of secondary school.

Prof Julian Williams, who led the project, called for an urgent Government study into the problem.

The study followed figures showing that the UK has plummeted in the world rankings for teenagers' maths skills in the past six years.

The Manchester researchers devised independent maths tests to measure the performance of 12,591 five to 14-year-olds in England's schools.

Prof Williams, from Manchester's School of Education, said: "Children across a range of abilities make practically no progress in maths between the ages of about 11 and 14 at school.

"This pattern is not significantly different for the higher or lower achieving child.

"At this rate of progress, it would take 10 years of extra teaching for a lower achieving classmate to catch up with his or her higher achieving peer, and five years for the lower achiever to score as well as the average in the class. …

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