Overview of Project Maths
Project Maths involves the introduction of revised syllabuses for both Junior and Leaving Certificate Mathematics. It involves changes to what students learn in mathematics, how they learn it and how they will be assessed.
Project Maths aims to provide for an enhanced student learning experience and greater levels of achievement for all. Much greater emphasis will be placed on student understanding of mathematical concepts, with increased use of contexts and applications that will enable students to relate mathematics to everyday experience.
The initiative will also focus on developing students’ problem-solving skills. Assessment will reflect the different emphasis on understanding and skills in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Led by the NCCA the initiative began in September 2008, with the start-up of Project Maths in an initial group of 24 schools. These schools are key players in the process of curriculum development. Their work helps the NCCA to learn from schools how the proposed revisions to the syllabus work in classrooms. Their work leads to the development of teaching and learning resources and assessment instruments.
The Mathematics syllabuses will be introduced by strand as follows:
- 1. Statistics and Probability
- 2. Geometry and Trigonometry
- 3. Number
- 4. Algebra
- 5. Functions
The first two strands which have been worked on in the 24 schools will be introduced nationally for incoming first year and fifth year students in September 2010.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR STUDENTS?
According as the revised strands are introduced, students will experience mathematics in a new way, using examples and applications that are meaningful for them. These will also allow students to appreciate how mathematics relates to daily life and to the world of work. Students will develop skills in analysing, interpreting and presenting mathematical information; in logical reasoning and argument, and in applying their mathematical knowledge and skills to solve familiar and unfamiliar problems.
JUNIOR CERTIFICATE MATHEMATICS
In the junior cycle, a more investigative approach will be used which will build on and extend students’ experience of mathematics in the primary school. To provide better continuity with primary school mathematics, a bridging framework is being developed that links the various strands of mathematics in the primary school to topics in the Junior Certificate mathematics syllabuses.
A common introductory course in mathematics at the start of the junior cycle will make it possible for students to delay their choice of syllabus level until a later stage. Two revised syllabus levels will be implemented at Junior Certificate, Ordinary level and Higher level, with a targeted uptake of 60% of the student cohort for Higher-level mathematics. This is expected to facilitate increased uptake of Leaving Certificate Higher-level mathematics.
Initially, a Foundation level examination, based on the revised Ordinary level syllabus, will also be provided. As the revised syllabuses and the targeted uptake become established, the necessity for the Foundation level examination will be kept under review.
LEAVING CERTIFICATE MATHEMATICS
In the senior cycle, students’ experience of mathematics will enable them to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for their future lives as well as for further study in areas that rely on mathematics. Leaving Certificate Mathematics will be provided at three syllabus levels, Foundation, Ordinary and Higher, with corresponding levels of examination papers. An uptake of 30% at Higher level is targeted. The issue of the status of the Foundation level course and the examination grades achieved by candidates in terms of acceptability for some courses at third level will be explored.
As the revised syllabus strands are introduced, there will be incremental changes to the examination papers.
The table below sets out the schedule for the introduction of revised syllabus strands.
PROJECT MATHS: TIMELINE