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One-in-three teachers not up to maths

MORE than a third of maths teachers at second level do not feel adequately prepared to teach and assess students.

A study by the Educational Research Centre (ERC) found that 36pc of teachers did not feel happy about assessing maths and 28pc felt they were deficient in teaching methods.

Up to 22pc would probably not meet Teaching Council requirements for teaching the subject, it estimates.

The survey looked at the teaching of maths in transition year.

Key recommendations are that students spend more time learning maths and that progress made in that year should count towards the level of maths they study for the Leaving Cert.

The report also calls for improvements in on-the-job training for maths teachers.

The study follows concerns raised by the findings of the three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

The latest PISA showed that the performance of Irish 15-year-olds is below the international average.


When PISA tests were conducted in March 2012, the ERC decided to use it as an opportunity to survey transition-year maths teachers.

Hours spent on maths in transition year was one of the issues touched on in the survey.

It found that, while students were timetabled to have an average of 83 hours of maths teaching, they were receiving, on average, only 84pc of those hours.

The report calls on the Department of Education to strengthen its guidelines and indicate the minimum amount of maths teaching that should take place.

It says that, even though students are likely to be engaged in other activities that demand large blocks of time, maths teaching should be prioritised during the year.

Transition year should also be used to promote student awareness of the importance and relevance of maths.

The ERC also expresses concern about schools relying on Junior Cert results rather than transition year grades when allocating students to Leaving Cert exam classes.