INSPECTION evidence has shown a pronounced dip in pupils' performance in mathematics after they transfer from primary to secondary school. The evidence suggests that pupils do not make the expected progress in the early part of key stage 3, which contributes to many pupils' failure to achieve level 6 by the end of key stage 3.
Last year, QCA developed bridging units in maths to help schools and LEAs raise maths standards throughout key stages 3 and 4. The units consist of two packs - Algebra: introducing symbols and Linking fractions, decimals and percentages. Each pack has two sections: one designed to be taught over 10 lessons, in two weeks, at the end of Year 6; the other over six lessons, also in two weeks, at the beginning of Year 7. All lessons are based on the three-part lesson model promoted by the National Numeracy Strategy.
The materials provide suitable lessons for pupils in Year who have taken their national curriculum tests and for those at the start of Year 7. In many LEAs last summer teachers from local primary and secondary schools worked together to use these materials. Several LEAs reported that the materials provided a mechanism to enable teachers to share expertise, plan lessons together, and develop a common understanding of national curriculum standards. In some cases, local clusters of teachers have gone on to develop their own bridging units on other aspects of the maths curriculum.
As schools approach the roll-out of maths in the National Numeracy Strategy at KS3, many may wish to use these materials to improve curriculum continuity and progression in maths. Packs can be ordered from the QCA on 01787 884444.
Lynn Churchman is principal manager of the QCA Mathematics team, 83 Piccadilly, London W1J 8QA. Tel: 020 7509 5555. Web: www.qca.org.uk