May 28, 2011
What were your reasons for doing this type of development work?
Primary Strategy Consultants identified a group of schools from the 2008 Key Stage 2 National Curriculum test data that showed mathematical attainment was significantly under the national average. The Y6 teachers from these school were given leading Y6 teachers to help in lesson planning, assessment and general teaching practice assistance in order to minimise the number of children attaining a borderline level 3 result.
Who might find this case study useful?
Carer Head of school improvement Headteacher Middle leader National Strategies consultant Parent Senior leadership team (SLT) SIP (School Improvement Partner) Subject leader
Author and Coordinator notes
Here is a summary of the feedback I sent you via email on the 7/9/0:
- Can you confirm that the school is part of ISP
- Please complete all the drop down lists in the learners section of the who page
- I have changed SAT's to NC
- Explain the use of Kagan learning and provide reference
- Do you have any lesson plans, maths packs, etc you can upload
- Ensure you have selected all options from the measuring progress drop down list
If I can be of any assistance with any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.
How to raise the standard of attainment at national curriculum level 4 in mathematics
How to employ teaching techniques that will give borderline 3/4 children a chance to attain the national average
Author: Steve Ellis
School or setting
Calveley Primary School
Type of school:
Type of setting (if Early Years):
LA maintained school
Free school meals:
Less than 20%
Number of classes:
Number of adult learners:
What specific curriculum area, subject or aspect did you intend to have impact on?
How did you intend to impact on pupil learning?
The focus was specifically on targeted children who after tracking and assessment using school specific methods had been identified as being on the borderline between level 3 and 4. The thrust of the assistance given to the teachers specifically related to these areas:
Increasing the level of challenge that the pupils had during a maths lesson<
Demonstrating to the teacher to the pitch and level of expectation that a child on the 3/4 borderline could cope with
Using the APP materials with teachers to highlight potential gaps in children knowledge and understanding on the 3/4 borderline
Give ideas and tips to teachers which would help them in their mathematical teaching
What were your success criteria?
The success criterea were:
Increase the percentage of children attaining level 4 for each of the two schools
Within the targeted group of children aim to increase the percentage of children attaining level 4 comparative to last year's target group
PLEASE NOTE this page has three tabs - click 'Next tab' below or use tabs above to see Teaching approaches and CPD approaches
What information or data did you use to measure progress towards your success criteria?
What did you do? What teaching approaches (pedagogy) did you use to achieve the intended impact?
Interventions Other Peer coaching Problem solving Teaching sequences
Describe the teaching approaches you used
An initial group meeting between four teachers and myself used the APP grid for borderline 3/4 children to identify (in a general way) which objectives and general aspects of the mathematics curriculum were seen as weaknesses by the targeted group of pupils in each class. These areas consisted of; major weaknesses in mental calculation, times tables, using and applying with number and the methods used to answer problems with the four operations.
These areas were further identified as weaknesses after observing lessons. Specifically the lack of time devoted to the mental and oral starter. Teachers spent a maximum of 8 minutes on this area and in one case 2 minutes before moving onto the main teaching activity of the lesson. On questions some children did not know their number bonds to 20, 50 or 100 and their knowledge of the times tables was weak at best. Teachers activities gave little or no chance for children to apply their knowledge across the maths curriculum.
Some teachers did not even have a full hour in which to teach their maths lesson, which ultimately meant the mental portion of the lesson was undermined and sometimes disregarded completely.
Teaching approaches on demonstration lessons centred around the mental and oral starter and using maths problems which had a heavy weighting on using and applying number work, especially decimals. The use of counting, chanting, number sticks, paired talk (see Kagan learning) and use of what I call a maths pack (a plastic wallet with different sheets in for use as a mini whiteboard) to aid mental calculation were used. All of these were not seen in the observed lessons. The main lesson objective in one lesson taught centred around methods to quickly and mentally calculate number problems. This was seen as a major weakness in the targeted group. Simple methods such as double and halving, using known sums to aid in the calculation of a more difficult one, use of x 10 or dividing by 10 for decimals and use of rounding up or down to make the calculation easier had in some case never been taught.
To set the pitch and expectation of the lesson the tasks which were done in the main lesson were related to using and applying their knowledge of number with specific emphasis on decimals. A school fair with different stalls and problems relating to money taken and given were used. Money is an excellent way to develop decimals to 2 decimal places especially when applying that with an understand of word problems.
Moreover, highlighting to teachers which methods to use to perform multiplication and division problems was repeatedly done. In one case long division was being performed by children, because they got the right answer. When in reality, they neither understood the process nor gained the correct answer. The chunking method was very under used as was the grid method but done vertically rather than horizontally.
What did you do? What approaches to CPD and learning for adults were used?
Demonstration Learning conversation Lesson observation Mentoring Work scrutiny
Describe the CPD approaches you used
The four teachers which were part of my group had four group meetings. These meeting were designed to show the teachers the vast amount of national strategy material that was available to help them. Simple ideas and what we called little nuggets (ideas) that could aid children understanding were discussed.
Teachers initially had one lesson observation each and found it extremely useful to just talk about their children and where improvements in their teaching of mental work and using applying could be made. Resources that I had been using such as times table t shirts with the table printed on the back so the children have to walk around school and others will ask questions for them to answer were eagerly used in their own schools. Maths packs, which are plastic wallets with sheets inserted for whiteboard markers to write on (sheets include thermometers, venn diagrams, practice grid method boxes etc). The use of the maths packs was discussed and it was noted by all teachers that these really do speed up the pace of the mental work as applying can be done straight away without, for example, having to draw a Venn diagram.
All four teachers visited my own classroom, on their request, to see the methods and ideas I employ. These was a really beneficial strand to the programme as it demonstrated pace, teaching methods and assessment techniques (AfL) with children I knew and could tailor the lesson to their weakness. Good discussion post lesson about pace and challenge of mental and oral section was very useful and teachers went away understanding the pitch and expectation of Y6 class (Understanding that the 7 times table can go beyond 70 and asking questions such as, give me a multiple of 7 between 100 and 120 were noticed by all four teachers as having high expectations).
What CPD materials, research or expertise have you drawn on?
Each supported teacher was invited to four cluster meetings. These were held at each of the participating schools which helped foster a unity within the group. The cluster meetings were chaired by myself the ‘lead’ teacher but we were also supported by our link Primary Strategy Consultant. The supported teachers were also given two half-day support sessions direct from the Primary Mathematics Team.
The first cluster meeting was extremely important to the success of the project. A heavy emphasis was put on the core reasons for the differential in attainment; the identification of children with underlying misconceptions in prerequisite skills that were posing barriers to progress. The word lead teacher was disregarded by myself in favour of support teacher as a feeling of "we are in this together" was emphasised.
The subsequent school visits and cluster meetings took on a bespoke feel to suit the needs of the individual supported teachers and the specific learning needs of their children. Primarily CPD centred on recently published support materials such as Overcoming Barriers, Pitch and Expectation materials, Securing Level 4 document and the Assessing Pupil Progress grids.
Related National Strategies resources:
Overcoming Barriers in mathematics - helping children move from level 3 to level 4 http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/84818
Pitch and Expectation materials http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/19822
Securing Level 4 document http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/165326
Assessing Pupil Progress grids http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/20683
Lesson study http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/132730
Who provided you with support?
How were you supported?
Two CPD days led by Primary Strategy Consultants
CPD session on Overcoming barriers material
CPD session on Pitch and expectations materials
CPD session on Securing Level 4
CPD session on the Lesson study
General support and guidance on how to conduct cluster meetings and school visits.
What has been the overall impact on pupil learning?
Pupils confidence within mental calculation has greatly improved. Quick mental methods are now being used almost instantly and a growing understanding of number (place value, inter-relationships between four operations etc) rather than an over reliance on formal written methods is evident. Too often in classes children would fall back to formal written methods such as decomposition when a simple method such as adding on would have been much more efficient.
Pupils were starting to see the links between areas of maths when using and applying. For example, when answering a word problem on decimals one child used a double and halving method and then a calculator (having to interpret the answer in monetary terms) which showed excellent application of decimal knowledge.
Pupils really started to enjoy the mental aspect of maths, especially the chanting and partner work, which was specifically competitive to insight the boys to try hard and "beat" the rest of the pairs in class. For example, you have 1 minute to table tennis (partner chanting in turn) the seven times table. Who got above 210?
Thoughts you think are relevant to overall impact on learning
I firmly believe an understanding of number comes from quality and efficient mental calculation work. Children begin to understand number bonds, adding, subtracting, positive/ negative numbers whilst chanting, counting forwards and backwards.
Quality resources such as number sticks, number grids, pendulums, maths packs (see previous page for explanation) puppets and other visual aids are paramount for children to get a range of mental strategies. These ideas have greatly impacted on times table knowledge in the classroom worked in.
Quantitative evidence of impact on pupil learning
Qualitative evidence of impact on pupil learning
Pupil consultation data
Describe the evidence of impact on pupil learning
Statistics below for the % of children who achieved level 4 from the targeted groups.
School A- 12 children - (ranging from 2b-3b at end of year 5)
66% achieved a level 4
School B- 12 children- (ranging from 3b- 4c at end of year 5)
92% achieved a level 4
What has been the impact on teaching?
The main areas concerned with teaching related to:
Lack of time to teach - 40/50 minute lessons in Y6 are not enough time (meetings with SLT to discuss and change timetable)
Below average expectations in middle ability groups. Teachers own understanding of pitch and expectation in Y6 were challenged through lesson demonstrations with their own classes
Lack of emphasis on mental and oral starter to build understanding of number
Demonstration of resources availability to teacher which are often free (see previous pages)
Clear emphasis on good quality cycle of learning in maths (teach, practice, apply, review and assess)
Thoughts you think are relevant to impact on teaching
In schools with large cohorts that are streamed into ability groups it is imperative that the top of the bottom set be doing the same work at the same pitch as the bottom of the top set.
Planning lessons within the new framework needs support as many teachers are struggling to follow the cycle described above and find "inventing" ideas for using and applying lessons difficult, often relying on old published schemes of work.
Evidence of impact on teaching
Evidence from observation and monitoring Teacher perceptions
Describe the evidence of impact on teaching
Teachers are using a more creative approach to teaching mathematics, using relevant and freely available model and images. Practical apparatus is now a regular element of the mathematics lesson, evident from planning and lesson study feedback.
What has been the impact on school organisation and leadership?
Renewed emphasis by SLT to challenge their school's capacity to raise attainment in mathematics.
Targeted intervention for mathematics is now being planned across KS1 and KS2 as teachers had clear evidence that progress was slow or non-existent in lower KS2 and Y5 where FFT (Fischer Family Trust) data had projected a level 4. Targeted children were entering Y6 with a level 2A. Realistically the teachers felt that a level 4 for this child was too far reaching.
Organisation of the school timetable meant that assembly was directed before maths in Y6 and almost constantly overran in one school. This meant that maths lessons were cut short and this frustrated the teachers and pupils alike. Changes in timetable or a tightening up of time is ongoing.
Clear focus for mathematics subject leader's monitoring
planning cycle - one teacher in a duel year group should not perform the maths planning in isolation and give that to other teacher on monday
assessment procedures- Use of APP to highlight areas of weakness
the amount and types of recording needed in children’s work in order to identify weaknesses in children’s performance
use of teaching/support assistants
Thoughts you think are relevant to overall impact on school organisation and leadership
In both schools it was apparent that targeted children entering Y6 had not made sufficient progress in some years prior and these children had not had the benefit of quality intervention programmes.
Evidence of impact on school organisation and leadership
Focus on standards and subsequent tracking of vulnerable/ underperforming groups given high priority.
Strategic observations of teachers use of mental and oral starters throughout the schools.
CPD opportunities planned and implemented.
What is the crucial thing that made the difference?
Giving teachers time to teach lessons within a tight timetable.
Having open and honest discussions between SLT and Y6 teachers at the
start of the year regarding which children could achieve a level 4.
What key resources would people who want to learn from your experience need access to?
Overcoming barriers material http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/84818
Pitch and Expectation materials http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/19822
Securing Level 4 http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/165326
Assessing Pupil Progress grids http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/20683
What CPD session and resources were particularly useful?
Lesson Study http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/132730
If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where would they start and what would the essential elements be?
Begin by identifying with RAISE online data children who have been targeted to reach level 4 in KS2 National Curriculum tests. Discuss with SLT which children should be included in a targeted group of no more than 6 in a single class of 30.
Give Y6 teachers focused CPD relating to the pitch and expectations documents and how to structure lessons which are centred around using and applying aspects of maths.
Furthermore, an understanding of how to use the APP materials to their fullest and ensure that teachers are using APP as part of their continued assessment for learning.
Teachers to have training on how to be creative in maths with resources, ICT, maths games and use of outdoors to enhance and support the understanding of number in particular.
What further developments are you planning to do (or would you like to see others do)?
In the summer term the supported teachers will share their experiences, relevant materials and outcomes with Year 5 colleagues in their own school. Continued sharing of good practice within schools as well as between schools.
Case study status
Under review Validated
Rachel Britton Related case studies
Supporting Year 6 Pupils in Moving from Level 3 to Level 4 in Maths Lead Teacher Programme in Maths Raising pupil attainment in number calculations in Year 6 (particularly low achievers) Ensuring children achieve Level 4 in mathematics at Key Stage 2 The Leading Year Six /Mentoring Programme 2009 Action Learning: Improving children's success with problem solving The Nintendo DS Lites project Essex lesson study: Improving learning in mathematics Creative maths to engage pupils and raise standards Raising attainment of girls in mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2 Talking Mathematics Using Innovation and Technology to raise enjoyment, confidence and attainment in Mathematics Using Creative Maths to Raise the Standard of Teaching and Learning 'Talking Maths': Focus on under-attaining EAL pupils in Year 5 Improving the percentage of children reaching level 4 in mathematics KS2 National Curriculum tests Using 1:1 Tuition to Improve Attainment in Numeracy 2 minutes of counting a day, keeps the doctor away!
dc.title Improving the percentage of children reaching level 4 in mathematics KS2 National Curriculum tests dc.identifier nsonline.org.uk~423153~281935 dc.subject Carer, Head of school improvement, Headteacher, Middle leader, National Strategies consultant, Parent, Senior leadership team (SLT), SIP (School Improvement Partner), Subject leader, , , , , , , , , dc.date 2010-01-20 12:02:51