Latest word on calculations

21st January 2000 at 00:00
QCA news from Jack Abramsky

THE Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has published three guidance booklets on mathematics for teachers of key stages 1 and 2 to support delivery of the revised national curriculum and the National Numeracy Strategy's Framework for teaching mathematics.

"Teaching Written Calculations" looks at: early forms of recording maths; the development of formal written methods of calculation; and the transition from expanded to compact forms of written recording.

It builds on mental calculation strategies taught before children begin formal methods of written calculation, and recommends that schools form local networks and develop a common teaching policy so that pupils use the same standard methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The aim is that by the end of Year 6, pupils will have been taught standard methods.

Where possible, the work is set in real contexts involving money or measurement. Examples of children's work are included.

"Teaching Mental Calculation Strategies" is designed to help teacherswith the requirements in the strategy's Framework and the national curriculum, which state that children should develop a range of mental strategies before learning formal written methods of calculation.

The booklet offers guidance on teaching effective mental strategies and makes clear what is expected of them when introducing formal written methods and the use of calculators for calculations that cannot be done mentally or by a written method. It lists the number facts that children are expected to recall rapidly; gives year-by-year expectations of a range of calculations children should be able to do mentally; lists the strategies children might be shown as an aid to performing and checking calculations; suggests activities.

"Standards in Mathematics" uses children's work to exemplify the key objectives in the Framework.

Primary schools are entitled to five free copies of "Teaching Written Calculations" and secondary schools two free copies. Contact the QCA on 01787 884444.

Jack Abramsky is principal subject officer, mathematics for the QCA

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