A Critical Review of Progression in Mathematics

A critical review of mid-term planning with a focus on progression of learning in Mathematics

Student No. 20041373
Mathematics as a subject and recent developments
DFE (2013) states that Mathematics is a highly interconnected subject and it’s learning is built on in a hierarchical way, this is where the development of new mathematical concepts and skills is built upon previously acquired knowledge and students should be able to make the interconnections between topics and be able to use Mathematical reasoning to solve more complex problems. This view is supported by changes in learning theory.
McLaren (2010) emphasises that learning theory has evolved in the following way:
  From skill development to understanding
    From absolutist to sceptical positions on Mathematics
  From behaviourist to something that looks like constructivism
Skemp (2006) suggests that Mathematics has been taught in two ways in the UK; with instrumental or relational understanding. Instrumental understanding is where pupils are taught a set of rules and then repeat them by example, utilising triggers. Pupils have no real depth of understanding and are not able to adapt to new problems.He highlights the need for relational understanding where a pupil will apply   their existing schema to new topics and build from this. Thus results in a deeper understanding and students are able to apply their knowledge to solve problems they have not encountered before.
Unwin-Berry (2013) suggests that students tend to forget knowledge between key stage 3 and 4, as the use by schools to assess pupils progress using short term testing encourages mainly surface engagement in topics.
This style of teaching has been highlighted as poor practice in the recent Ofsted (2011) report, and it suggests this does not prepare pupils properly to study Mathematics at a higher level, hence in my view the reason for the introduction of the new curriculum this year and the scrapping of NC levels to encourage...