Numeracy Activities and Achievements 2014-2015
1. Tests & Surveys:
a) First Year students Entrance Test (CAT) was analysed and compared with national averages for both numeracy & literacy. These results are made available to staff via Staff Share.
b) All First Years complete a Maths Criterion Reference Test (MCRT) in September 2014. The aim of this test is to identify areas of weakness within the years cohort e.g. fractions, and to work on these areas of weakness during the year. The test is re-run at the end of the last term to measure improvements. Full results for both tests are available in the Numeracy folder on staff share
c) Maths Attitude test - The aim of this test is to identify the student's feelings and attitude towards maths at the beginning of their first year in secondary school. A sample from the year undertakes this computerised test in September and again at the end of the school year.
2. There is a numeracy specific noticeboard located outside the science laboratories. This is regularly updated.
a. DCU exceptional students - Talented Youths of Ireland are identified and may sit an exam in Dublin City University (cost approximately 10 euro). They are then offered courses during the summer with students of similar ability. Each year the top First Years showing excellent numeracy skills are identified and offered the opportunity to sit the exam. 15 students were offered this opportunity of the 2014/15 entrants. One student from 1b completed the entrance exam.
b. Our in-house focus for 2014/15 has been on Measurement and Distance - In order to increase the student's awareness of distance and lengths two sets of competitions have been run. The students are asked to estimate distance or height e.g. the length of a specific classroom, the area of the football pitch. The competition was so successful that it has been re-run. Other elements to encourage measurement include the addition of a height chart to the corridors so that students can measure themselves in both feet and metres, with notes on converting from one measurement scale to another.
c. All First Year students, aided by Ms Egan, entered the IMTA Junior Maths competition. This is a very prestigious competition with national coverage and only students with exceptional maths abilities succeed. Two First Year Students from 1b will contest the Regional Final in May. Well done to date!
d. Transition Year students organised a Puzzle Morning for First Years during Maths week. This was a very enjoyable successful event with 1a emerging as overall winners.
4. Trips - The aims of the trips are not just to help the students to enjoy maths but to see its importance in their current lives and to encourage them by showing the importance of maths to their future careers.
a. Maths Week 11th-18th October 2014. 5th Years went to UCD Maths for three Maths lectures.
b. Science Week November 2014. 2nd Years went to W5 in Belfast
c. Engineering week. In February first years had to opportunity to visit the Intel factory
d. A special tour of the Wax Museum with strong emphasis on Maths was hosted by the Wax Museum during National Maths Week which 2nd and 3rd Year students attended.
e. There is a strong link between numerical and musical abilities. This school has a rich musical tradition. A trip to UCD was organised for 3rd Years in February to explore how the electric guitar works - Exploring the link between music, maths & physics.
5. A numeracy section has been added to the Library. As this is still in its infancy all book donations would be gratefully received.
6. Parents Update: A letter was sent to all parents in November outlining numeracy activites to date and plans for 2014/15.
7. In order to ensure that all teaches have a uniform approach to teaching maths elements in their subject, in-house courses are run for teachers. This year our focus was on percentages.
8. A Numeracy Club has been established by Mr Lally and meets in Room 22 Monday lunchtimes. Computers/ board games/ projects are used. In addition a very successful chess club runs most lunch times which has a strong numeracy content.
9. Transition Year Coaching. Two sets of coaching has been undertaken by Transition Year students to aid and assist First Years.
a. Transition Year students have produced a set of lessons over a 4 class period on fractions. These were subdivided into ordering, equivalents, and partitioning. All the groups worked very well and this benefited both TY students and First Year students.
b. Transition Year students have coached all First Years based on the results of their Maths Criterion Reference Test during the year. Areas requiring extra attention were focused on specifically, fractions (multiplication, division, addition and subtraction).
10. Posters with a numeracy focus have been completed and are displayed along the corridors of the school. These were completed by Transition Year students and include a puzzle element.
11. Our aims for 2015/16 include deepening the number awareness of students within the school with a particular emphasis on reducing their over dependence on calculators. Fractions will also be heavily focuses on.