Memory difficulties particularly are apparent when a dyscalculia student lacks a solid conceptual understanding of the process they are attempting. For example, if a student understands the process of long multiplication, he is far less dependent on remembering the steps in the process and the task is much easier.
Students with Dyscalculia may suffer a double deficit in that not only do they have a fragile grasp of the concepts which underlie the process they are attempting to complete, but also have poor working memory for the steps they have been taught and the number facts needed to perform mathematical tasks.
At SPS Atlanta, we use the right combination of approaches that are best suited for each individual student. Often we find On Cloud 9 Math is most effective when combined with the KeyMath3 research-based program and our knowledge of the language of math, processing speed, and working memory.
Our understanding of Dyscalculia guides our instruction and use of resources and materials to provide additional strategies that stand-along programs do not always include (e.g., subitization, memorizing key number bonds, using known facts to determine unknown facts).
At William Perkin we foster students’ enjoyment of mathematics, developing strong mathematicians who are highly numerate and confident in solving a broad range of problems. Our students know that mathematics is an incredibly important subject, imperative for some of the best university courses and careers. Our students also know that mathematics is a very empowering subject and helps us to understand and appreciate the beauty of the world.
In Key Stage 3 (Years 7-8), students study number, algebra, geometry and statistics over a variety of units. In Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11) students complete their GCSE course, with the most able being prepared fully for the rigour of the A-level course. Some even do an additional qualification (FSMQ). All students learn formal methods and proof, problem solving techniques and how to communicate effectively using mathematical language. The curriculum offer is broad and we also run a number of extended electives (e.g. Mathletics, Chess Club, Mathematics Challenge) to enrich the mathematical experience of all of our students, whatever their ability.
All students are formally assessed at regular intervals throughout each key stage to ensure they all make excellent progress. There are 4 quarterly exams over the year and a piece of standardised assessed homework following every unit. The quarterly exams are linear (i.e. they cover all topics studied since the start of the course). All results are recorded centrally on Go4Schools and students will receive personalised feedback to help them progress after each assessment and piece of homework. We celebrate progress ahead of attainment and our track record is that, since the opening of William Perkin, students have made exceptional progress in mathematics.
Regular practice of new skills and independent work is an essential part of learning mathematics. Students are expected to complete prep tasks after every lesson. This will often be a short piece of practice work based on the content of the previous lesson, or a short task to prepare for the following lesson. These tasks enhance and consolidate pupil learning, and develop the kind of learning habits and routines that will prepare students for A-levels or other further study.
Prep tasks may include:
- Mathematical investigations
- Memorisation of key vocabulary or mathematical facts
- Exam questions
- Practice of a mathematical skill
We expect all students to ‘stretch’ themselves in mathematics so that they can realise their potential. Our curriculum is differentiated into 3 tiers (core, higher and advanced) and each tier has differentiated lesson outcomes to ensure that all students are stretched, regardless of their ability. Exceptional mathematicians may be invited to take part in the national UK Mathematics Challenge (UKMT) – an annual competition for the most able mathematicians.