Too often we meet with parents who lament that their child was an A-student in Grade 7, only to receive a 30% score on their maths test in Grade 8. They don’t believe the teachers. They complain that the high school is not teaching their kids properly. Or they simply feel helpless and at a loss to understand how this could happen. It’s incredibly frustrating for our parents.
Every year we see the same thing. It’s not the teachers, or the high school (at least not the ones we work with :-)). We have tested over 15,000 Grade 8 and 9 learners using our maths diagnostic assessments which have been designed to test three grades back and the results clearly demonstrate that basic fundamentals in maths are not properly mastered in primary school. An easy multiplication question 6×4 – Grade 3 level – scored an average of 44.5% across the learners tested. Our theory is that learners managed to pass in primary school through rote learning, memorising the answers without properly understanding the concepts.
But high school maths requires that you fully master the basics without needing to memorise them again. High school Grade 8 teachers don’t have time in the curriculum to teach learners their times tables, or what a fraction is. This should have been done from Grade 4 onwards.
And if a grade 8 learner doesn’t identify those gaps early on, ideally in Term 1 already, it becomes progressively harder to catch up as time passes. By the time September of Grade 9 comes along it’s far too late and most likely their and their parent’s dreams for their career as a doctor or engineer will be dashed as they’re forced to select Maths Literacy in Grade 10.
The value in diagnosing your maths gaps early on in the year doesn’t just apply to Grade 8, although it’s absolutely crucial in Grade 8 given the jump from primary to high schools. Every year teachers will cover more complicated maths concepts and so uncovering the gaps in specific maths topics from prior years and prior terms is valuable so that learners can target their efforts and find support options on the maths topics they need it most. This is even more true in the Covid-19 environment we are in today.
The Brighter Futures Maths Diagnostic Assessments are FREE and available for Grade 8-12. These are 1-1.5hr assessments that cover the maths concepts covered over the last few grades. Once completed, learners receive a detailed report in minutes via email that breaks down every maths section assessed with a corresponding percentage score. Parents, teachers and learners themselves can use this report to target their interventions and ensure no child falls behind.
Good luck to our Maths learners this year – we are here to support you.