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On the level for low attainers

HEINEMANN MATHS Key Stage 3 Levels 2 and 3 Topic and Exercise Pack By David Burghes, Liz Holland, Jim Miller, Sheila Platt and Frank Tapson Heinemann Pounds 49.95 Age range 11-14

This A4 pack of loose-leaf photocopiable exercise worksheets is for low attainers in key stage 3. It has been written to address all the ideas in the level 2 and 3 level descriptors of the mathematics national curriculum. The writers have deliberately chosen to focus on the level descriptors and not the programmes of study, so the material appears to be largely concerned with assessment.

There are 100 worksheets presented in 10 topic areas, such as Shapes, Environment and Sport. Each worksheet is referenced in detail on a large grid against the separate statements within the level descriptors. Nineteen "practice sheets" provide a means to assess a pupil's attainment of individual statements within the level descriptors. Each practice sheet addresses a different statement.

Finally, there is a collection of mental tests addressing knowledge and recall of number facts. The material will photocopy clearly, and pupils write their answers on the sheets.

My main reservation about the pack is the way in which each worksheet has been referenced against individual statements within the level descriptors. This seems to go against the spirit of the 1995 revision of the mathematics national curriculum. While the Dearing review moved attention away from an atomistic approach to teaching and assessment, this material continues to promote the "tick box" style.

On the other hand, this approach might help teachers who are uncertain about how to interpret the level descriptors in the new national curriculum. This pack needs to be used selectively with pupils alongside other more stimulating and investigative approaches.

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