Project maths: exam outing


THIS YEAR sees the first outing of a complete State exam in project maths. Revised syllabuses for maths are being introduced across the State, and the programme is under way in 24 pilot schools.

In previous years students have been examined on project maths in parts of the exam and on the old syllabus in others.

This year is the first full examination of project maths. Monday will also see the first taster of the new syllabus questions on the exam for the general Leaving Cert population. Paper 2 will see parts of the project maths syllabus examined in conjunction with parts of the old syllabus.

Project maths aims to overhaul how maths is taught and assessed in schools.

Much greater emphasis is placed on student understanding of mathematical concepts, with increased use of contexts and applications that will enable students to relate maths to everyday experience. There is great emphasis on problem solving.

There have been teething problems, not least in relation to a lack of resources such as books and examinations material. Many argue that the introduction of the syllabus is too rushed, that teachers are unprepared and that delays in the provision of syllabus details are causing stress.

Some content of the syllabus has been criticised by third-level academics and teachers.

Chief among their concerns is the “dumbing down” of the syllabus. They have also expressed concern about areas dropped from the old syllabus, such as matrices and vectors.

Supporters point to results that saw a higher proportion of higher-level students gain an honours grade in project maths.