In 2014, St Michael’s implemented a new mathematics program in Years 6-12 that individualised learning for every student. The program focuses on engaging students at all levels by placing them in topic-specific classes that are chosen based on level of understanding.
“The program is designed to enable students to learn Maths at their ‘proximal zone of development’ – the teaching targets students at their point of greatest understanding,” said Associate Head (Teaching and Learning), Mr Tim Dorning. “Students are pre-tested for each topic in Maths (about six per year). They are sorted into classes with similar understandings and teachers build the learning to meet the students’ needs.”
One of the unique elements of the program is that students are not limited by year level, so they can be appropriately challenged.
“The program was introduced to enable students to be engaged in maths by having a course tailored for them that provided the appropriate amount of challenge. Students are not limited by their year level, they work at their own level,” said Mr Dorning.
A key component of the St Michael’s program has been the introduction of Northern Hemisphere Timetable Mathematical Methods, which gives selected students, like Grace in Year 12, the ability to complete VCE Mathematical Methods in on the Northern Hemisphere timetable.
“When I heard about it, I really wanted to do the Northern Hemisphere program,” said Grace. “I thought it seemed so worthwhile to have it staggered with other subjects and to be in a class with other students who really liked maths.”
This enables the selected students to remain engaged in maths by working alongside similarly grouped students, and ultimately complete Mathematical Methods Unit 3 in Year 11 and Unit 4 in Semester 1 of Year 12, which takes pressure off the busy October exam schedule.
Higher engagement in maths learning at all levels is the primary benefit of the Northern Hemisphere Maths Program. Another benefit is that students who learn faster are provided with access to more challenging courses. These students are selected on the basis of results, in the middle of Year 10.Associate Head (Teaching and Learning), Mr Tim Dorning
The Year 12 students who have just completed the Northern Hemisphere timetable Mathematical Methods are the first group who have journeyed through the St Michael’s Maths Program from Year 7, and they have achieved some amazing results.
We are delighted to say that 66% of the class received the remarkable result of a study score of 40 or more, demonstrating the benefits of tailored learning at all levels.
“What is most pleasing about this performance is the growth this group of students have shown. It was fantastic to see how this motivated the students to expand their learning and ultimately receive fantastic results,” said Mr Dorning.
For Year 12 student, Grace, who also completed Units 3 and 4 of Psychology last year, the benefits of completing a VCE subject earlier in the year were matched by the motivation she gained working with the rest of her Northern Hemisphere class.
Being grouped with like-minded students in our class made me really motivated. We were all working together, but there was also a healthy competition because everyone was passionate about maths. It was really good to feel like we were all working towards the same goal.Year 12 student, Grace
The benefits for Grace have also extended to Specialist Mathematics, which she is currently studying.
“Methods compliments Specialist Maths. You have to do Methods if you want to do Specialist Maths, so a lot of the content in Specialist is assumed knowledge from Methods,” said Grace. “I felt ahead of the game, especially in Units 1 and 2, where the understanding I had from Maths Methods really helped. I know I will do better in Specialist Maths at the end of the year now.”
Congratulations to our talented and hard-working mathematicians!
We look forward to witnessing the continued engagement and growth of our students as they complete the Years 6-12 Maths Program.