Counting down...

13th October 1995 at 01:00
MATHS PLUS: KEY STAGE 1 ASSESSMENT FILE Age range: 5-7 By Richard and Lin Bulloch and Katy Ord - Heinemann Pounds 39.99 MATHS PLUS: KEY STAGE 2 ASSESSMENT FILE Age range: 7-11 By Richard Bulloch, David Kent, Katy Ord and Roy Woodward - Heinemann Pounds 64.95 MATHS GAMES: KEY STAGES 1 AND 2 Age range: 5-11 By Joe Santaniello Scholastic Pounds 12.99 each

Many primary teachers are anxious about how they should assess their pupils in mathematics. They are certainly aware that pencil-and-paper tests on their own do not tell the whole story about a child's abilities - and that ticking off a detailed checklist when he or she completes each task can be time-consuming and lead to concern that teachers are too busy assessing to do any teaching.

One answer is provided by these two assessment files for key stages 1 and 2, which can be used independently of Heinemann's other Maths Plus materials.

The Maths Plus: Assessment Files are organised in terms of attainment targets. In the "using and applying mathematics" section, which is often the most difficult to assess, a series of investigational activities is offered. These include a series of "performance indicators" which provide guidance on how children's work can be assigned to the correct level.

Advice on organising and introducing each activity will also prove useful, and overloaded teachers will welcome marking schemes and clear references to the programme of study.

Finding the appropriate games to ensure children develop a range of different mathematical knowledge and techniques has sometimes proved difficult - activities like snakes and ladders need to be adapted if children are to progress beyond practising their counting skills.

The two Maths Games books contain photocopiable exercises for primary pupils of all ages and abilities, and the key stage 2 material would also be beneficial to some younger secondary pupils.

Each game includes teacher guidance, instructions for playing and a discussion on the teacher's role, which is crucial if the potential of these games is to be realised.

Issues such as assessment, making and storing the games, involving parents and classroom assistants, adapting the games and cross-curricular links are helpfully mentioned in the introduction. However, there is nothing on the benefits that can be gained from children devising their own games.

But, as source books for a range of different ideas for mathematical games covering a large part of the mathematics curriculum, these will prove a valuable addition to the staffroom library.

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