This case study looks at how a secondary mathematics team reflected on their experience of Assessing Pupils' Progress (APP), including their views on the teaching approach and their pupils' reactions to this.
Approach to teaching and learning
The curriculum was divided into units of learning of about two or three weeks per block. The department did not use a set textbook but used material developed within the department as well as a wide variety of commercially produced materials. There was a strong emphasis on the development of a rich repertoire of effective teaching approaches that promoted a more active approach to learning, with rich, probing questions, mini-whiteboards and activities to promote discussion high on the list of strategies used. These aspects of teaching and learning were particularly evident in one observed lesson. Study skills such as revision techniques including the use of 'concept mapping' and note taking were also explicitly taught.
The pupils enjoyed their mathematics. One group identified aspects of the approaches taken that they particularly appreciated, including:
- They were often set tasks and given a chance to solve problems and work out strategies on their own or in their groups.
- They enjoyed the variety of activities in mathematics – puzzles, starter questions, card sorts, experiments.
- They were encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.
- The discussion in mathematics was felt to be particularly helpful.
On the subject of revision:
We are often encouraged to figure things out for ourselves.
We always note 'what I need to do to get the next grade up' – that is really helpful.
It's really nice to study mathematics at Malmesbury.
On the subject of revision techniques:
We did lots on how the brain works...using colour, shapes and layout to help us remember. That was really helpful.Year 9 pupil
There was a feeling across the department that they were prepared to try things out and take some risks if they feel that it could be helpful.