Lucky numbers

15th March 1996 at 00:00
MATHS 2000 By Liz Ransford, Christine Symonds, Bill Domoney and Paul Harrison Evaluation Pack Level 1 - Pounds 35 Activity Cards 1, 2, and 3 - Pounds 18.50 each + VAT Evaluation Pack Level 2 - Pounds 52.35 Nelson Age range 5-11. Marion Devine assesses a new scheme from Nelson for key stages 1 and 2

Maths 2000 is a comprehensive scheme for key stages 1 and 2, which takes the novel approach of presenting number separately from other topics such as shapes, space, measures and handling data. Using and applying mathematics are integrated into both number and topic work.

The materials for each year group comprise a teacher's resource book, pupil workbooks, practice and enrichment materials and, from Year 2 on, a resource book of assessment copymasters. For the earliest years there are also brightly coloured activity cards to encourage discussion and practical activities. Suggested record keeping forms at class and individual level are included.

There is much to welcome in this scheme. In the teacher's guides, each unit is introduced by a clear statement of objectives and a note about what children should be able to do before starting the unit. Guidance on assessment includes questions to ask, activities to observe, where and how to obtain evidence of understanding.

Differentiated practice and enrichment materials enable teachers to offer opportunities to those who need help as well as to those who need a further challenge. Practical activities and necessary resources (available in any classroom) are listed in the workbooks and the teacher's guides.

The teacher's guides also give curriculum correlation tables which indicate how each unit of work relates to the national curriculum, the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines and the Northern Ireland curriculum. While it is useful to have these links summarised, teachers might have welcomed a more up-front approach identifying the links in the notes for each unit of work. These links might also have been usefully extended to the record-keeping forms for individual pupils. Such records would have provided clearer evidence of attainment at the relevant key stages than those included in the teachers' guides, which simply list the units for each year.

Inevitably, given the main audience for Maths 2000, the relationship between the units and the curricula is closest for the national curriculum. For example, there is no attempt to link any of the units to the attainment outcome "Problem Solving and Enquiry" of the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines.

The book of assessment copymasters might have included more discussion of the different purposes of assessment, cross-referenced to relevant notes on assessment in the teacher's guides. As it is, the guidance on assessment is scattered throughout the scheme with a short general passage in the introduction to the teacher's guides, hints on continuing assessment within each unit and references to summative measures of attainment in the introduction to the assessment copymasters.

More guidance on the use of calculators would have been helpful. This has attracted considerable media coverage recently and it would have been interesting to see the issues explored with perhaps some discussion of good practice. The free availability of calculators from Year 1 onwards, which is suggested in the teacher's guides, may cause more problems than it solves.

Authors of any scheme are torn between the need to be succinct and the need to be comprehensive. Inevitably, certain issues will not be discussed in depth. The introduction of this scheme into schools will be much enhanced by school-based professional development, not only to familiarise teachers with its structure, but also to discuss some of the issues which are raised in the teacher's guides.

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