Maths Direct aims to boost achievement of lower-ability pupils across key stage 3. Books A and B address mathematics from levels 2 and 3 of the national curriculum, with Book A providing the foundation of knowledge and understanding that pupils will need to benefit from this series. Later books will extend the coverage to level 5 and for each pair of books there will be a teacher's pack available as an A4-size book and a CD-Rom. The programme draws on many years of research in mathematics education from King's College London.
Each pupil's book contains eight modules of six lessons. Each lesson addresses a clearly identified objective and the sequence of lessons through a module builds towards the theme of the module. This helps teachers identify and address common errors.
The modules are organised into 20 topic trails, which systematically cover the national curriculum. The spiral structure means that topics are returned to and developed periodically throughout the course.
The teacher's pack gives clear and concise guidance on organising the lesson. There are photocopiable resource sheets for extension activities and for homework. This careful support may be particularly valuable where the lessons are to be taught by non-specialist or inexperienced teachers.
The pupil's books are colourful and use appropriate contexts. At the end of each lesson, pupils are encouraged to reflect on what they have done. For example, after a lesson on using measurements, pupils are asked what was the most helpful thing they used for measuring, and why. Used carefully by the teacher, this will help pupils recognise what they have achieved. These books should be a valuable resource for a department seeking to improve provision for low attainers at key stage 3.
Peter Johnston-Wilder is a senior lecturer in mathematics education at De Montfort University Bedford.