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MAVblog - Last comments
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http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&disp=comments en-US http://backend.userland.com/rss 60 In response to: MAV feedback on the draft Senior Secondary Mathematics Australian Curriculum Thu, 16 Aug 2012 22:47:16 +0000 David Shutler [Visitor] c46@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/
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I can't get into the site to read the MAV response. However the NSW response is well-written, comprehensive and I have to agree with the majority of their arguments.
http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=mav_feedback_on_the_draft_senior_seconda&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c46
In response to: Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students Sun, 05 Jun 2011 09:50:56 +0000 Moira [Visitor] c37@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ My son is cursed with giftedness. We are in the process of trying to find a suitable school move for him as by year 3 his behavior is screaming loud and clearly how unhappy he is. On my journey I've consulted widely and come to the conclusion that cohort is as important as teaching. Finding like minded peers is the key as it allows children like my son to feel ok and not bored and will push him along. In this regard, having grown up in NSW in the seventies with it's successful OC classes and selective high schools, I think the current system in Victoria fails these children. I agree with the previous comments that giftedness doesn't appear at year 9, but is noticeable early. I think that we have to be careful that we get in early, and identify children before they develop poor learning patterns and bad behaviors,, and in part so that gifted education isn't subverted by the coaching industries so prevalent in NSW. http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=parliamentary_inquiry_into_the_education&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c37 In response to: Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students Wed, 11 May 2011 07:38:02 +0000 Edna Joseph [Visitor] c36@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ Teachers in Australia are trained to identify children with ADHD, ADD, Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders but not Giftedness. Identifying gifted children should be part of their Uni Degree. I was told by my son’s ELC teacher that he had Autistic Spectrum Disorder and that he needs to see a psychologist simply because she could not understand him. The teacher in prep told me that there was “No such child as a gifted child” because she did not want to cater for him. The year one teacher yelled at him all the time. Ever since he began school all I’ve had is complaint after complaint when all he needed was challenging work. He was bored and this resulted in disruptive behaviour and underachievement. We moved him to a state school in Glen Waverley and he is the happiest since. He has got plenty of friends and no more complaints. He was also bullied at his previous school. All he needed was challenging work and teachers who understood him. Whilst it is not the best school for him we do not have many options. Most schools do not want to hear the word Gifted and are reluctant to mention it, fearing opposition from parents of normal kids. Some call it tagging and I call it identifying. We cannot cater for these children if we do not identify them. Gifted children also have traits that make them different to others and if their teacher does not understand this, life can be living hell. Most private schools and Government selective schools cater for these children from year nine. They do not become gifted in year nine- they are born gifted which makes me wonder is it really a gift or a curse. His previous school’s reluctance to accept him as a gifted child has left me with anxiety and stress. The community in general thinks we will be rich one-day. A gifted child cannot be successful if you do not nurture their gift and the road to this success is via hell. His present school has vertical Maths and many competitions and their willingness to accept the word gifted has made this school a haven for these kids. They need to be with like-minded kids and that can only happen when the society and schools understand them and if not the world can be lonely place! “No such child as a gifted child” because she did not want to cater for him. The year one teacher yelled at him all the time. Ever since he began school all I’ve had is complaint after complaint when all he needed was challenging work. He was bored and this resulted in disruptive behaviour and underachievement. We moved him to a state school in Glen Waverley and he is the happiest since. He has got plenty of friends and no more complaints. He was also bullied at his previous school. All he needed was challenging work and teachers who understood him. Whilst it is not the best school for him we do not have many options. Most schools do not want to hear the word Gifted and are reluctant to mention it, fearing opposition from parents of normal kids. Some call it tagging and I call it identifying. We cannot cater for these children if we do not identify them. Gifted children also have traits that make them different to others and if their teacher does not understand this, life can be living hell. Most private schools and Government selective schools cater for these children from year nine. They do not become gifted in year nine- they are born gifted which makes me wonder is it really a gift or a curse. His previous school’s reluctance to accept him as a gifted child has left me with anxiety and stress. The community in general thinks we will be rich one-day. A gifted child cannot be successful if you do not nurture their gift and the road to this success is via hell. His present school has vertical Maths and many competitions and their willingness to accept the word gifted has made this school a haven for these kids. They need to be with like-minded kids and that can only happen when the society and schools understand them and if not the world can be lonely place! ]]> http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=parliamentary_inquiry_into_the_education&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c36 In response to: Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students Thu, 05 May 2011 23:58:15 +0000 Melissa Vollebergh [Visitor] c35@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ As a parent I am shocked to find that some (not all) teachers of my son's gifted class do not feel compelled to actually give extension work. they continue to give work that is boring and repetitive, ( not just this year!)with very little understanding of problem solving (it is NOT "an exercise on worded questions that has one concept being tested and the heading problem solving on it"!) They do not know the difference between extension and acceleration. He hates Maths now because it is so boring. Teaching these sorts of kids MATHS should be about developing great DISCUSSIONS among their peers (so they benefit from being together), and giving them work that makes them THINK, not just regurgitate, allowing them to ENJOY the subject and want to explore deeper patterns not avilable to them in the ordinary class. A variety of activities, in and out of the classroom, some long, some short, and using different learning styles, will help to keep them motivated. schools should keep these activities ON FILE so noecomers to the role don't have to reinvent the wheel. it's just common sense really. http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=parliamentary_inquiry_into_the_education&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c35 In response to: Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students Thu, 05 May 2011 03:59:35 +0000 Terry Mills [Visitor] c34@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ To suggest that "gifted and talented" applies to a special group of students is to imply that the all others have either no gifts or talents. You might think that I am being precious or pedantic. But one thing we have learned from feminism is that language is important in framing our attitudes. God has endowed each of us with gifts and talents. The challenge is to recognise the gifts and talents of the people we meet - including ourselves. In practical terms, the challenge to the teacher is to encourage students to use their talents to learn. The first step for those who manage the educational system is to get the language right. http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=parliamentary_inquiry_into_the_education&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c34 In response to: MAV Response to the Draft 11-12 Australian Curriculum - Mathematics Mon, 26 Jul 2010 13:02:36 +0000 Sue Michell [Visitor] c14@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ Comments on ACARA’s draft document for Mathematics in senior years General comments • There is nothing about assessment in the draft, nor whether assessment at Year 12 will be based on the two years (4 units) of each subject. At Year 12, assessment is a key part of the mix, without which, the document is incomplete. • Assumptions about Year 10 background are not at all clear. While 10A is required for Specialist, Maths Methods refers to 10 / 10A which does not help to clarify what should be happening at Year 10. This uncertainty surrounding Year 10 must be addressed. • The status of the CAS calculator is not clear. Some parts of the document refer to ‘technology’, some to ‘graphics calculator’ and some to ‘CAS technology’ – the reference needs to be more precise and consistent. • The document should not make statements that ICT has been incorporated into all topic areas unless it is able to substantiate this. It would be preferable to read ICT has been incorporated into ‘most’ or ‘many’ or ‘where appropriate’. • Cross curriculum dimensions are really pathetic and can only be considered tokenistic. • The 4 unit nature of each separate subject is welcome and should help to overcome the confusion surrounding different implementations of the current VCE General Maths subject (GMS vs GMF etc.) and this should help with textbooks too. • How viable is it for schools to offer 4 streams of Maths at both of Year 11 & 12? • What pathways will be accepted, what will not? For example, can a student do three Year 12 Maths subjects? • Although the document acknowledges the 4 courses are differentiated, there is nothing to suggest there will be recognition of this hierarchy in ENTER scores between the Maths subjects (possibly provenance of VTAC and equivalent?). Comments and observations about the 4 courses • Essentially three of the four subjects, with a little tweaking, could be viable. The fourth, Maths Methods, is of grave concern and if not drastically curtailed, could have disastrous consequences. Essential Maths • Content seems reasonable in that it is not demanding, although it does contain some algebra. There is repetition of some earlier year’s work and not sure if all the content is particularly meaningful or exciting even though it is accessible. • Should some of the financial material from General Maths be attempted here because some knowledge of finance is a life skill? • Don’t know how the Investigation will work in practice but sounds ok in theory. • Should this have the status of a Year 12 subject? – perhaps it is a VET equivalent? Will many choose to do this subject? Will all schools be able to, or be expected to, offer it? General Maths • Year 11 content looks ok provided support material on price index numbers provided! • Heavily financial in Year 12 – some newer material but a reasonable course. Time series back and a lot of recurrence material which may be found difficult although students will have CAS so probably this material will be able to be covered through formulae and ‘recipes’. • Inconsistent with references to graphics, then CAS. Specialist Maths • The document says Specialist is designed to be taken in conjunction with Maths Methods but what does it mean by the statement “there has been consideration given to students who have studied units 1 and 2 Mathematical Methods to enter Specialist Maths at Unit 3”? Is this implying Specialist Units 1 and 2 may not be a pre-requisite? • Options are totally ridiculous for a subject that attracts small numbers. Victoria knows this from when it tried to run 3, dropping to 2 modules, then giving up entirely and making the course fully prescribed. Do the same here – ditch statistical inference and prescribe either one of the other two options (difficult to choose between them) or preferably, prescribe a combination selected from the remaining two options. Another thought is to throw out Matrices so both of the non statistical options can be prescribed. • I surprise myself by saying it but I have to applaud placing Graph Theory in Specialist Maths and I find ACARA’s argument for its inclusion very convincing. However, I hope there will be lots of good textbooks and support for teachers, such as myself, to learn this material at the depth required. How will the Graph theory treatment compare with its treatment in General Maths? Here would be a danger of there being fairly superficial treatment of the topic if the final assessment does not examine all 4 units of the subject. • Some introductory work on vectors and polar co-ordinates is needed in Year11. • It seems questionable that triple angle formulae need to be learnt. • The more formal and precise language to be used in this subject is welcome • Careful planning of the order of the syllabus to enable links with and to build on corresponding topics in Maths methods will be required. Maths Methods • This is awful. Far from lifting standards and encouraging more students to do Maths, this subject seems destined to have the reverse effect of steering even good students away from it and into General Maths and deterring all but the very few of the most mathematically able students from taking on Specialist Maths in conjunction with it. • It tries too hard to cover too broad a range of topics. The subject needs to reassess what it stands for and devise a more reasonable course to service the needs of the student cohort it claims to identify with. • Units 1 and 2 are really heavy – impossibly so, even if students remember perfectly the 10A material. Too much of the current Year 12 Maths Methods material has been placed in Year 11. It is quite unreasonable. • Units 3 and 4 are fragmented and not put together well. There is no flow. • Refers to assumed knowledge from10 / 10A so is 10A assumed to have been studied? This really needs to be clarified. • Refers repeatedly to graphic calculators, but presumably CAS calculators will be used? • There are hardly any pre-calculus concepts introduced, more a return to an earlier way of introducing calculus. Year 12 has second derivative as covered in Specialist. Why overlap? • There is a huge chunk on Gaussian elimination - why, when students have CAS? This makes it even more tempting to throw out Matrices from Specialist and place the transformations from Specialist here to replace Gaussian elimination - or better still forget the lot because some things must be cut back to obtain a more reasonable course. • There is also a huge chunk of statistical inference – didn’t go well last time round – Universities usually say they prefer to teach this themselves in context. Given all the statistics covered in previous years, there is sense in doing statistical inference but to fit this in so much current Year 12 material has been moved to Year 11 and something has to be deleted. • It seems that the course is also prescribed in terms of order in which it is to be studied. Is that the case? • Strangely, it appears to introduce surds from a very simple level. • A number of topics that have appeared on syllabuses of various maths subjects at various times are assembled here: uniform and exponential random variables (can we expect to see Poisson and geometric before too long?), curve fitting using log-linear transformations, statistical inference… there is nothing ‘wrong’ with the topics, what is not right is there are too many topics trying to cover too broad a range. A depressing subject as presented. Sue Michell General comments
• There is nothing about assessment in the draft, nor whether assessment at Year 12 will be based on the two years (4 units) of each subject. At Year 12, assessment is a key part of the mix, without which, the document is incomplete.
• Assumptions about Year 10 background are not at all clear. While 10A is required for Specialist, Maths Methods refers to 10 / 10A which does not help to clarify what should be happening at Year 10. This uncertainty surrounding Year 10 must be addressed.
• The status of the CAS calculator is not clear. Some parts of the document refer to ‘technology’, some to ‘graphics calculator’ and some to ‘CAS technology’ – the reference needs to be more precise and consistent.
• The document should not make statements that ICT has been incorporated into all topic areas unless it is able to substantiate this. It would be preferable to read ICT has been incorporated into ‘most’ or ‘many’ or ‘where appropriate’.
• Cross curriculum dimensions are really pathetic and can only be considered tokenistic.
• The 4 unit nature of each separate subject is welcome and should help to overcome the confusion surrounding different implementations of the current VCE General Maths subject (GMS vs GMF etc.) and this should help with textbooks too.
• How viable is it for schools to offer 4 streams of Maths at both of Year 11 & 12?
• What pathways will be accepted, what will not? For example, can a student do three Year 12 Maths subjects?
• Although the document acknowledges the 4 courses are differentiated, there is nothing to suggest there will be recognition of this hierarchy in ENTER scores between the Maths subjects (possibly provenance of VTAC and equivalent?).
Comments and observations about the 4 courses
• Essentially three of the four subjects, with a little tweaking, could be viable. The fourth, Maths Methods, is of grave concern and if not drastically curtailed, could have disastrous consequences.
Essential Maths
• Content seems reasonable in that it is not demanding, although it does contain some algebra. There is repetition of some earlier year’s work and not sure if all the content is particularly meaningful or exciting even though it is accessible.
• Should some of the financial material from General Maths be attempted here because some knowledge of finance is a life skill?
• Don’t know how the Investigation will work in practice but sounds ok in theory.
• Should this have the status of a Year 12 subject? – perhaps it is a VET equivalent? Will many choose to do this subject? Will all schools be able to, or be expected to, offer it?


General Maths
• Year 11 content looks ok provided support material on price index numbers provided!
• Heavily financial in Year 12 – some newer material but a reasonable course. Time series back and a lot of recurrence material which may be found difficult although students will have CAS so probably this material will be able to be covered through formulae and ‘recipes’.
• Inconsistent with references to graphics, then CAS.
Specialist Maths
• The document says Specialist is designed to be taken in conjunction with Maths Methods but what does it mean by the statement “there has been consideration given to students who have studied units 1 and 2 Mathematical Methods to enter Specialist Maths at Unit 3”? Is this implying Specialist Units 1 and 2 may not be a pre-requisite?
• Options are totally ridiculous for a subject that attracts small numbers. Victoria knows this from when it tried to run 3, dropping to 2 modules, then giving up entirely and making the course fully prescribed. Do the same here – ditch statistical inference and prescribe either one of the other two options (difficult to choose between them) or preferably, prescribe a combination selected from the remaining two options. Another thought is to throw out Matrices so both of the non statistical options can be prescribed.
• I surprise myself by saying it but I have to applaud placing Graph Theory in Specialist Maths and I find ACARA’s argument for its inclusion very convincing. However, I hope there will be lots of good textbooks and support for teachers, such as myself, to learn this material at the depth required. How will the Graph theory treatment compare with its treatment in General Maths? Here would be a danger of there being fairly superficial treatment of the topic if the final assessment does not examine all 4 units of the subject.
• Some introductory work on vectors and polar co-ordinates is needed in Year11.
• It seems questionable that triple angle formulae need to be learnt.
• The more formal and precise language to be used in this subject is welcome
• Careful planning of the order of the syllabus to enable links with and to build on corresponding topics in Maths methods will be required.

Maths Methods
• This is awful. Far from lifting standards and encouraging more students to do Maths, this subject seems destined to have the reverse effect of steering even good students away from it and into General Maths and deterring all but the very few of the most mathematically able students from taking on Specialist Maths in conjunction with it.
• It tries too hard to cover too broad a range of topics. The subject needs to reassess what it stands for and devise a more reasonable course to service the needs of the student cohort it claims to identify with.
• Units 1 and 2 are really heavy – impossibly so, even if students remember perfectly the 10A material. Too much of the current Year 12 Maths Methods material has been placed in Year 11. It is quite unreasonable.
• Units 3 and 4 are fragmented and not put together well. There is no flow.
• Refers to assumed knowledge from10 / 10A so is 10A assumed to have been studied? This really needs to be clarified.
• Refers repeatedly to graphic calculators, but presumably CAS calculators will be used?
• There are hardly any pre-calculus concepts introduced, more a return to an earlier way of introducing calculus. Year 12 has second derivative as covered in Specialist. Why overlap?
• There is a huge chunk on Gaussian elimination - why, when students have CAS? This makes it even more tempting to throw out Matrices from Specialist and place the transformations from Specialist here to replace Gaussian elimination - or better still forget the lot because some things must be cut back to obtain a more reasonable course.
• There is also a huge chunk of statistical inference – didn’t go well last time round – Universities usually say they prefer to teach this themselves in context. Given all the statistics covered in previous years, there is sense in doing statistical inference but to fit this in so much current Year 12 material has been moved to Year 11 and something has to be deleted.
• It seems that the course is also prescribed in terms of order in which it is to be studied. Is that the case?
• Strangely, it appears to introduce surds from a very simple level.
• A number of topics that have appeared on syllabuses of various maths subjects at various times are assembled here: uniform and exponential random variables (can we expect to see Poisson and geometric before too long?), curve fitting using log-linear transformations, statistical inference… there is nothing ‘wrong’ with the topics, what is not right is there are too many topics trying to cover too broad a range. A depressing subject as presented.

Sue Michell
]]>
http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=mav_response_to_the_draft_11_12_australi&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c14
In response to: National Professional Standards for Teaching – Draft for Consultation Thu, 13 May 2010 22:01:39 +0000 George Lilley [Visitor] c12@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ I have been disappointed with the push, over the last few years, to use Graphics and CAS calculators in all VCE Maths classes. Most teachers I talk to are against this trend. Drs Burkard Polster and Marty Ross have written about their concern regarding the trend to remove elements of the Maths Curriculum and replace it calculator use. I support their views and hope the National Curriculum takes this into account. I support their views and hope the National Curriculum takes this into account.]]> http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=national_professional_standards_for_teac&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c12 In response to: MAV Response to the Draft Australian Curriculum - Mathematics Thu, 13 May 2010 04:43:17 +0000 jeannecarroll [Member] c11@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ Thank you Dennis for your comments. I have now submitted the MAV response to ACARA, so won't be able to include your points specifically although I thik that we have made reference to the ideas. Make sure you submit them on the ACARA website. I agree that some students lack facility in mental arithmetic and number sense as a result of their dependence on calculators. However, I am in favour of the many uses to which calculators can be put that actually help in the development of understanding of mathematical concepts. The important issue is to make sure that teachers have access to professional development that enables them to make sound pedagogical choices about their use of calculators and computer technologies.
I agree that some students lack facility in mental arithmetic and number sense as a result of their dependence on calculators. However, I am in favour of the many uses to which calculators can be put that actually help in the development of understanding of mathematical concepts. The important issue is to make sure that teachers have access to professional development that enables them to make sound pedagogical choices about their use of calculators and computer technologies.]]>
http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=mav_response_to_the_draft_australian_cur&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c11
In response to: MAV Response to the Draft Australian Curriculum - Mathematics Thu, 13 May 2010 03:16:44 +0000 Dennis Wright [Visitor] c10@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ No matter how much everyone talks of "understanding" and making maths interesting, the main factor in the turnoff of secondary maths students must in my opinion be a direct consequence of lack of mental arithmetic. The use of calculators anywhere in junior forms leads to a dependence from which many brains never recover, and as a result secondary processes of algebraic common factors or common denominators are nigh on impossible. Forget secondary maths; the main life use of maths for most people is mental arithmetic. It would also be helpful if a student knew what it meant when told "learn that." eg. the quadratic formula. Students at year 12 who do not have a very good command of mental arithmetic or the ability to DELIBERATELY memorise facts and methods, have a very hard path. Bring back rote learning in primary years. http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=mav_response_to_the_draft_australian_cur&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c10 In response to: MAV Response to the Draft Australian Curriculum - Mathematics Sat, 08 May 2010 00:58:05 +0000 Michelle Stone [Visitor] c9@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ I am interested in knowing more about the shortfalls and the advantages of the New Australian Curriculum in Mathematics. Has a comparison chart been developed comparing VELS and new Curric. Drawing out the differences etc Please let me know I am doing my Masters on this topic and am highly interested http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=mav_response_to_the_draft_australian_cur&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c9 In response to: MAV Response to the Draft Australian Curriculum - Mathematics Thu, 06 May 2010 23:53:32 +0000 Jill Brown [Visitor] c8@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ In secondary schooling hand held technology (CAS enabled or not) should be the technology of choice (at this time in the century anyway). From a learning perspective - this allows students to make use of, and control, their own personal technology – this is particularly important for adolescents. From a teaching perspective – the technology is always available. Naturally some specific technologies will be see as ‘better’ then the hand held technologies, however, as any secondary teacher knows, in many schools accessing computers with the required application or access to web-based materials is often impossible. Hand held graphing calculators are specifically designed for education, they can be used for myriad mathematical purposes across the years 7-12 and beyond. It is to the advantage of our students – current and future – that we provide them with opportunities to become expert in the use of hand held technologies and be empowered to increasingly make the decision how and when to use these in their mathematics. http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=mav_response_to_the_draft_australian_cur&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c8 In response to: National Professional Standards for Teaching – Draft for Consultation Mon, 03 May 2010 01:22:47 +0000 Rob Money [Visitor] c7@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ My experience with the Monash Uni trial teaches me that some teachers are great classroom performers but not so good at explaining their performnce in terms of the key assessment criteria. In consequence I was driven to the conclusion that it wa particularly important to have a video of a lesson taught by the teacher - presumably sometime within the assessment period. Both the teacher and the assessment panel can then reflect on what the video shows, after which a discussion can occur in which the teacher explains any significant events and the panel clarifies and confirms what the video shows as evidence for its key assessment criteria. http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=national_professional_standards_for_teac&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c7 In response to: MAV Response to the Draft Australian Curriculum - Mathematics Mon, 26 Apr 2010 09:43:08 +0000 Lisa [Visitor] c6@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ I am very concerned about the content demands of the NC in the middle years as a current teacher of years 9, 11 and 12. I felt that the expectations were based on availability of teaching time more in tune with the 1970's than current, or likely future, trends of around 3 hours per week or less. I was also struck by the lack of connections between topic areas. It appears that there will be no focus on developing ideas and depth of understanding but rather a fleeting treatment of "bits and pieces" of maths. I believe the multiple representations of number sequences, algebraic expressions and equations is vital in linear,exponential and quadratics topic study. I also think that measurement and geometry needs to be clearly connected along with number representations such as surds with measurement, Pythagoras and trigonometry, and the importance of estimation in this area. It is good to see Statistics and Probability throughout, but better grouping of the conceptual ideas is needed to avoid topic isolation and lack of analysis. It is really disappointing to see ICT seemingly added in here and there rather than embedded throughout. It is surely time to see ICT as a tool for thinking not a way of performing hard calculations we can't do in our heads! In short, it seems a very boring, repetitive curriculum which attempts to cram content rather than develop thinkers. http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=mav_response_to_the_draft_australian_cur&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#c6 In response to: MAV Response to the Draft Australian Curriculum - Mathematics Mon, 19 Apr 2010 14:15:45 +0000 Terry Mills [Visitor] c5@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ I work as a statistician in health care and I have some comments on the way that statistical analysis is presented in the current Victorian curriculum, and the proposed national curriculum (which I will abbreviate at NC). In his pamphlet “On education” John Milton sets out his views about education in England in the 17th century. One of his criticisms is the following. “…we do amiss to spend seven or eight years merely in scraping together so much miserable Latin and Greek as might be learned otherwise easily and delightfully in one year.” (Hughes (1957, p. 631)) A similar comment could be made about the strand on probability and statistics in the draft National Curriculum in Mathematics. Let me elaborate. I will refer to the draft National Curriculum in Mathematics simply as NC. Data analysis is covered in the curriculum from kindergarten to Year 10. The aim is that students will be able to “recognise and analyse data and draw inferences” (NC, p. 2). Statistical inference is a well developed, formal branch of mathematics. To understand it properly one needs at least some calculus. NC gives me the impression that statistical inference will not be addressed at all before the end of Year 10. In several places, NC mentions that, in data analysis, students will “make connections”, but a common error is for people to make connections without reference to statistical inference. It would be a mistake to teach students to draw conclusions by simply looking at data. If formal statistical inference will not be addressed in K-Year 10 (and I would not suggest that it ought to be), then the data analysis section of NC consists of methods of elementary descriptive statistics. These methods could be taught easily and delightfully in a term. I also object to the calculators that are so prominent in upper secondary schools. First they are very expensive and this only adds to the huge inequities in the school system. Second, the calculators are very clunky to use when compared to something like SPSS or Excel. A statistician would not use these calculators in practice; even students at university tend to use packages for statistical analysis. Spending time (and money) on these calculators to do statistics at school is a waste. Reference Hughes, M.Y. (1957) John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.
In his pamphlet “On education” John Milton sets out his views about education in England in the 17th century. One of his criticisms is the following. “…we do amiss to spend seven or eight years merely in scraping together so much miserable Latin and Greek as might be learned otherwise easily and delightfully in one year.” (Hughes (1957, p. 631))

A similar comment could be made about the strand on probability and statistics in the draft National Curriculum in Mathematics. Let me elaborate. I will refer to the draft National Curriculum in Mathematics simply as NC.

Data analysis is covered in the curriculum from kindergarten to Year 10. The aim is that students will be able to “recognise and analyse data and draw inferences” (NC, p. 2). Statistical inference is a well developed, formal branch of mathematics. To understand it properly one needs at least some calculus.

NC gives me the impression that statistical inference will not be addressed at all before the end of Year 10. In several places, NC mentions that, in data analysis, students will “make connections”, but a common error is for people to make connections without reference to statistical inference. It would be a mistake to teach students to draw conclusions by simply looking at data.

If formal statistical inference will not be addressed in K-Year 10 (and I would not suggest that it ought to be), then the data analysis section of NC consists of methods of elementary descriptive statistics. These methods could be taught easily and delightfully in a term.

I also object to the calculators that are so prominent in upper secondary schools. First they are very expensive and this only adds to the huge inequities in the school system. Second, the calculators are very clunky to use when compared to something like SPSS or Excel. A statistician would not use these calculators in practice; even students at university tend to use packages for statistical analysis. Spending time (and money) on these calculators to do statistics at school is a waste.

Reference

Hughes, M.Y. (1957) John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.
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In response to: MAV Response to the Draft Australian Curriculum - Mathematics Fri, 16 Apr 2010 02:35:16 +0000 Keith Currie [Visitor] c3@http://mav.vic.edu.au/blog/ Firstly - thank you for someone(s) for looking at the Draft in such depth! Secondly - my main objection to the Draft is the amount of content to be covered, and consequently the speed at which students have to move through the curiculum. I believe that about 60% of students can do higher level maths IF they are given the opportunity in lower years to move slower and understan one bit before being forced to move on. This is the single biggest factor in students not liking and being successful at Maths and choosing it in the Senior Secondary and Tertiary levels. The dratf makes the situation worse - there is still far too much in it, and does not allow for exploration, discovery and proofs. Thirdly - the draft does contain some stupid mistakes and errors - could someone clean up the MAV submission so that ACARA does not dismiss the MAV submission for containing some mistakes and typos. Secondly - my main objection to the Draft is the amount of content to be covered, and consequently the speed at which students have to move through the curiculum. I believe that about 60% of students can do higher level maths IF they are given the opportunity in lower years to move slower and understan one bit before being forced to move on. This is the single biggest factor in students not liking and being successful at Maths and choosing it in the Senior Secondary and Tertiary levels. The dratf makes the situation worse - there is still far too much in it, and does not allow for exploration, discovery and proofs.
Thirdly - the draft does contain some stupid mistakes and errors - could someone clean up the MAV submission so that ACARA does not dismiss the MAV submission for containing some mistakes and typos.]]>
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