Unfair treatment in Math

Getting your child into that dream Primary school is just the start of a 6 year journey. Discuss issues you face with supporting your child's studies in Primary schools.
Forum rules Gentle reminder before posting questions in the Academic Support Forums: Please ensure you post your question in the correct thread. Try not to start new threads.

Unfair treatment in Math

Postby skyjuice » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:12 pm

In DS's school, higher ability classes learn more Math in terms of more challenging work and content. But at the end of the day, the whole level is tested on the same paper. Without doubt, lower ability classes can't handle the chellengers cos they were not taught them in the first place! I wonder if other schools experience this?

skyjuice
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:19 pm
Total Likes: 0


Re: Unfair treatment in Math

Postby verykiasu2010 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:10 pm

skyjuice wrote:In DS's school, higher ability classes learn more Math in terms of more challenging work and content. But at the end of the day, the whole level is tested on the same paper. Without doubt, lower ability classes can't handle the chellengers cos they were not taught them in the first place! I wonder if other schools experience this?


if the non-high ability were to be taught also the more challenging math, then they may end up not able to master the basic as well as not able to handle the challenging questions.

which you you prefer ? to be able to handle well the basic question and miss out the marks for the challenging questions ? or to be "half pail of water" for all the topics and take the risks of not scoring in all sections ?

then another grumble will be why not let them concentrate on the basic and ignore the FEW challenging questions ?
verykiasu2010
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 11696
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:06 pm
Total Likes: 2


Re: Unfair treatment in Math

Postby skyjuice » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:46 pm

verykiasu2010 wrote:
skyjuice wrote:In DS's school, higher ability classes learn more Math in terms of more challenging work and content. But at the end of the day, the whole level is tested on the same paper. Without doubt, lower ability classes can't handle the chellengers cos they were not taught them in the first place! I wonder if other schools experience this?


if the non-high ability were to be taught also the more challenging math, then they may end up not able to master the basic as well as not able to handle the challenging questions.

which you you prefer ? to be able to handle well the basic question and miss out the marks for the challenging questions ? or to be "half pail of water" for all the topics and take the risks of not scoring in all sections ?

then another grumble will be why not let them concentrate on the basic and ignore the FEW challenging questions ?


Actually, the FEW challenging questions happen to be 13 questions consisting of 60 marks, the paper 2. Out of which, 6-8 questions tend to be olympiad type-- patterns, sequences and many heuristics. These 6-8 questions easily make up 30-40 marks.

It's true that some challengers are beyond the lower ability. But I feel the schools should at least prepare them in some ways. After all, PSLE is increasing the number of challengers every year. At this rate, this cluster of kids is destined to be lower ability all the way.

skyjuice
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:19 pm
Total Likes: 0


Re: Unfair treatment in Math

Postby Brenda10 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:26 pm

skyjuice wrote:In DS's school, higher ability classes learn more Math in terms of more challenging work and content. But at the end of the day, the whole level is tested on the same paper. Without doubt, lower ability classes can't handle the chellengers cos they were not taught them in the first place! I wonder if other schools experience this?


May be. In DD school the top two classes are using the more challenging workbook/worksheet than the others classes.

Brenda10
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 5027
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:43 pm
Total Likes: 3


Postby Leanne » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:55 pm

My child class also offered more challenging math questions only to the top class.To me, its no difference.If the child is not offering higher ability math, he or she can just pick up some assessment books and work on it with guidance.

In my child school, even they do challenging problem sums, teacher just give answer and dont really teach.So, still boils down to the child themselve.To me, I find no difference whether the child is having higher ability workbook to work on or not.

Leanne
BlackBelt
BlackBelt
 
Posts: 937
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:55 pm
Total Likes: 0



Postby Brenda10 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:19 pm

Leanne wrote:My child class also offered more challenging math questions only to the top class.To me, its no difference.If the child is not offering higher ability math, he or she can just pick up some assessment books and work on it with guidance.

In my child school, even they do challenging problem sums, teacher just give answer and dont really teach.So, still boils down to the child themselve.To me, I find no difference whether the child is having higher ability workbook to work on or not.


Hi Leanne


Yes. I agree with you. We cannot intercept over whatever school chooses to do but as the parent we can work with the child in all types of resouce within our capability to buck up the maths or event other subject.

Brenda10
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 5027
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:43 pm
Total Likes: 3


Re: Unfair treatment in Math

Postby Sun_2010 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:46 pm

skyjuice wrote:Actually, the FEW challenging questions happen to be 13 questions consisting of 60 marks, the paper 2. Out of which, 6-8 questions tend to be olympiad type-- patterns, sequences and many heuristics. These 6-8 questions easily make up 30-40 marks.

It's true that some challengers are beyond the lower ability. But I feel the schools should at least prepare them in some ways. After all, PSLE is increasing the number of challengers every year. At this rate, this cluster of kids is destined to be lower ability all the way.


In my opinion, the setting of PSLE paper is done such that with basic knowledge can one score a certain level, a medium level knowledge score can score upto the next level, and a higher level knowledge can make u score higher. That is what the role of PSLE is - to help distinguish a students ability to help in their placement.

So I feel that the a couple of tough questions will appear to help identify the ones with very high apptitude and ability in maths, and some challenging but not too difficult to identify the above average and so on. That is only fair to students of differnt abilities to be given an opportunity show case their strengths. I dont agree that 30-40% are Olympiad standards. May be non routine but not of the standard of an Olympiad. This is in line with the objective of the PSLE maths, which is to develop problem solving skills, not just routine problems. I would say 20% or lesser is of olympiad standard.
Again a school can only set its teaching standards based on the majority in that class, so yes few kids may not be stretched to their potential , and a few may lag behind.

If your kid can take in more challenging levels, do encourage him to try , talk to the teacher about some higher level books suitable for him/her than what is being done in class. Maths is a broad subject, kids may have the ability in one area more than other- say may have good visiual ability , may be very good in Geometry, and not so in logic or others. So yes some personal initiative may help in stretching in his strengths...

But take this with a pinch of salt , I speak from what i see of my P6 kids books/papers . I am neither an expert or anyone involved in the educational curriculum, but speak from my experience as a parent. :oops:

Sun_2010
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 4613
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:13 pm
Total Likes: 145


Re: Unfair treatment in Math

Postby Picolo » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:08 pm

verykiasu2010 wrote:
skyjuice wrote:In DS's school, higher ability classes learn more Math in terms of more challenging work and content. But at the end of the day, the whole level is tested on the same paper. Without doubt, lower ability classes can't handle the chellengers cos they were not taught them in the first place! I wonder if other schools experience this?


if the non-high ability were to be taught also the more challenging math, then they may end up not able to master the basic as well as not able to handle the challenging questions.

which you you prefer ? to be able to handle well the basic question and miss out the marks for the challenging questions ? or to be "half pail of water" for all the topics and take the risks of not scoring in all sections ?

then another grumble will be why not let them concentrate on the basic and ignore the FEW challenging questions ?


I used to analyse this logically like you. My kids are in better classes and I didn't know what exactly are being done in the average/mixed ability classes. But when so many other mums with kids from different levels and classes started describing how 'bo-chap' the Math Teachers are in the average classes, I start to realise that this has become quite a serious problem for the poor kids in the average classes. The teachers just do the bare minimal math worksheets required by the schools, with no time dedicated to some varied 'challenging/ interesting' questions. When the kids do past years' papers, the teachers just give them the answers without explanation! I used to dismiss these complaints from other parents, but when I hear similar feedback from so many others, I am beginning to believe that there is a vicious cycle for the poor kids in the average math classes. Maybe the direction of the schools are reasonable - if you are a 2.4 l car, you go faster and so I let you go more miles, learn everything etc. but you and I know you need to be exposed to all kind of road conditions in order to win the race, right? I wonder if the principals really know what are happening in the average classes? Whatever it is, I know that if my kids ever go into an average class one day, I make sure I expose them to different kinds of questions that are reasonable to appear in PSLEs.

Picolo
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 571
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:03 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: Unfair treatment in Math

Postby buds » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:21 pm

skyjuice wrote:In DS's school, higher ability classes learn more Math in terms of more challenging work and content. But at the end of the day, the whole level is tested on the same paper. Without doubt, lower ability classes can't handle the chellengers cos they were not taught them in the first place! I wonder if other schools experience this?


Brenda10 wrote:May be. In DD school the top two classes are using the more challenging workbook/worksheet than the others classes.


In my DDs' school as well. On top of more challenging books, separate
higher ability Math worksheets as well. Naturally when tested on same
level playing field, the higher ability students tend to score full marks
or if not, at the very least i observed.. they're somewhere around 95.

That said, i do empathize with skyjuice's DS since the marks for that
shortfall is A LOT. :hugs: Like what the others have shared, as parents
we can provide the additional support with external resources and guide
our children with as much as they can handle.

Heard from many tutors and parents, Andrew Er's Math Books are pretty
challenging. There's also another publication from SAP, if you're keen to
check them out, skyjuice.

buds
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 22683
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:21 am
Total Likes: 84


Re: Unfair treatment in Math

Postby verykiasu2010 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:42 am

skyjuice wrote:
verykiasu2010 wrote:
skyjuice wrote:In DS's school, higher ability classes learn more Math in terms of more challenging work and content. But at the end of the day, the whole level is tested on the same paper. Without doubt, lower ability classes can't handle the chellengers cos they were not taught them in the first place! I wonder if other schools experience this?


if the non-high ability were to be taught also the more challenging math, then they may end up not able to master the basic as well as not able to handle the challenging questions.

which you you prefer ? to be able to handle well the basic question and miss out the marks for the challenging questions ? or to be "half pail of water" for all the topics and take the risks of not scoring in all sections ?

then another grumble will be why not let them concentrate on the basic and ignore the FEW challenging questions ?


Actually, the FEW challenging questions happen to be 13 questions consisting of 60 marks, the paper 2. Out of which, 6-8 questions tend to be olympiad type-- patterns, sequences and many heuristics. These 6-8 questions easily make up 30-40 marks.

It's true that some challengers are beyond the lower ability. But I feel the schools should at least prepare them in some ways. After all, PSLE is increasing the number of challengers every year. At this rate, this cluster of kids is destined to be lower ability all the way.


Questions 1 - 35 total 50 marks
Questions 36 - 48 total 50 marks

of which

question 36 - 41 = 3 marks each, total 18 marks

question 42- 44 = 4 marks each, total 12 marks

questions 45 - 48 = 5 marks each, total 20 marks

the last 4 could be considered more challenging, but students are expected to get a few marks for steps, formula, statement even if they can't get full marks for those question

how that 6 to 8 questions can make up to 40 marks ? please check your question papers

the last 9 questions make up 32 marks, you are not expect to get zero for the 9 questions. if the kid can't get any marks for the last 9 questions, then the kid is really weak, better concentrate on the basic and don't waste time on challenging questions. sorry being blunt, the teachers' approach may not be wrong. depends on school as well
Last edited by verykiasu2010 on Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
verykiasu2010
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 11696
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:06 pm
Total Likes: 2


Next

Return to Primary Schools - Academic Support