Making mathematics choices for the 6th form
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Making Mathematics Choices for the 6th Form. Jim Ridgway jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk. Structure. Outline of PREMA – an EU project UK data on choice and performance Conclusions Actions Introduction to the interviews This school The interview protocol Web of influence.

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Making Mathematics Choices for the 6th Form

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Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

Making Mathematics Choices for the 6th Form

Jim Ridgway

jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk


Structure

Structure

  • Outline of PREMA – an EU project

  • UK data on choice and performance

  • Conclusions

  • Actions

  • Introduction to the interviews

    • This school

    • The interview protocol

    • Web of influence

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Prema promoting equality in maths achievement

PREMA - Promoting Equality in Maths Achievement

To Understand Women’s Under-representation In STEM

  • Processes of student decision making

  • Pedagogical factors

  • Socio-cultural factors

  • Impact of ICT

    http://prema.iacm.forth.gr/main.php

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Research spine

Research Spine

  • Interview policy makers

  • Examine national data on performance

  • Survey attitudes towards mathematics and subject choice in post-compulsory education

    • At school

    • At university

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Research spine cont

Research Spine (Cont.)

  • Interview high attaining students in post-compulsory education about their choices regarding mathematics

    • At school

    • At university

  • Interview mathematics teachers

  • Interview university mathematics lectures

  • Interview women in the early stages of their careers, who either had or had not pursued careers in STEM

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Uk course choices

UK Course Choices

  • A level exam choices

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


National data 2004

National Data 2004

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


National data 20041

National Data 2004

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Survey of attitudes and influences

Survey of Attitudes and Influences

1128 students

aged 17-18 years

8 schools

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Important factors

    • Enjoyment

    • Interest

    • Past success

    • ‘pull factors’ – future career

    • Subject combinations

  • Students claim to be ‘empowered’

  • Girls have more choices AND…

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Conclusions cont

Conclusions (cont.)

  • Mathematics is not very interesting or enjoyable

  • Some professional women were influenced by school ‘women into STEM’ programmes

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Implications for action

Implications For Action

  • Make mathematics interesting and enjoyable

    • More creative; relate contexts to student interests

  • Pedagogy

    • Pay appropriate attention to girls and boys in class

    • Increase the variety of teaching methods

    • Reward effort, engagement and understanding

    • Build student confidence

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Implications for action cont

Implications For Action (Cont.)

  • Communication

    • Careers using mathematics

    • On the implications of different subject choices

    • Wider applications of mathematics

  • Teacher Education

    • Provide information on girls and STEM

    • Provide tools for classroom observation

    • Provoke reflection on practice

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Interviews

Interviews

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

  • Xl

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


The school

The School

  • Mixed comprehensive school

  • Popular village in SW England

  • Mainly (not exclusively) middle class

  • Mainly ethnically ‘white English’

  • Excellent OFSTED report

  • Excellent GCSE results

  • High ‘value added’ score

  • Oxbridge entrants every year – high expectation of uni education for most students

  • Broad curriculum - languages, art, sports, and drama, as well as mathematics and science

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


The school cont

The School - cont

  • A dynamic (female) head – ‘outstanding’ says OFSTED

    • E.g. knows most pupils by name

    • Lots of promotions to head teacher from senior staff

  • Lots of pupil work on display around the school

  • Lots of newspaper cuttings showing school events and school successes

  • Ethos - high attainment for all

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


The student sample

The Student sample

  • School

    • A or A* at GCSE mathematics

    • Half doing maths, half not

    • Girls and boys

  • Gerry

  • Becca

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


A open ended exploration of trajectory

A: Open-ended exploration of trajectory

  • How old were you when you decided whether or not you were good at mathematics?

  • contributing factors?

  • Did you make active choices at AS/A2 or just go along with what was expected?

  • Tell me something about why you chose the courses you are now taking.

  • What were the most important factors in deciding to/deciding not to take an advanced course in mathematics?

  • Was taking/not taking an advanced course in mathematics an easy choice, or did you have reservations?

  • Do you think that these factors are different for boys and girls?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Open questions on long term goals

Open Questions on Long term Goals

  • Do you have a career plan in mind?

    • What is it?

    • Why?

    • What contributed to the decision?

  • How would you feel about a career in a maths related area?

    • Good things?

    • Bad things?

  • How do you see your life in 10 years time?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


School experiences

School Experiences

  • Classroom activities

    • What were typical activities in maths classrooms?

  • Classroom Roles

    • If there were girls and boys in class, did they have different roles? [describe]

  • Teacher Behaviour

    • Get different treatment from teachers? [describe]

      • What was YOUR role?

  • Curriculum content

    • The most interesting part of maths was…….. because?

    • The most boring part of maths was…….. because?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Women mathematicians

Women Mathematicians

  • Do you think there have been women mathematicians in history? [names?]

  • Do you think there are famous women mathematicians today? [names?]

  • Why/why not?

  • Did you learn anything about them in your maths lessons?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Teaching

Teaching

  • Some – lets say 3 things that successful maths teachers do

  • 3 things that unsuccessful maths teachers do

  • Were there differences between male and female maths teachers?

  • Give examples

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Successful students

Successful Students

  • 3 things that successful maths students do

  • 3 things that unsuccessful maths students do

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form1

Making Mathematics Choices for the 6th Form

Jim Ridgway

jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk


Survey attitudes and things that influence choices of study

Survey Attitudes And Things That Influence Choices Of Study

  • Enjoyment

  • Past performance

  • Competence using computers

  • ‘Mathematical identities’

  • Long term plans

  • Personal influences – parents, teachers, friends

  • ‘Resilience factors’

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Interviews i with high performers qualified to take more maths

Interviews I – With High Performers Qualified To Take More Maths

  • Typical lessons, and uses of ICT

  • Interest and enjoyment

  • Girls’ and boys’ roles

  • Socio-cultural questions

  • Actions of successful and unsuccessful teachers

  • Actions of successful and unsuccessful students

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Interviews ii with high performers qualified to take more maths

Interviews II – With High Performers Qualified To Take More Maths

  • Development of mathematical identity

  • Choices available; actually made; reasons

  • Influences: parents, siblings, teachers, friends

  • Long term plans

  • What makes you good at maths and [X]?

  • Why do you work hard at maths and [X]?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Interviews iii with high performers qualified to take more maths

Interviews III – With High Performers Qualified To Take More Maths

  • Analyses

    • Socio-cultural factors

    • Pedagogical factors

    • Impact of the digital divide

  • Understanding decision making

    • Motivation theories

    • Identity theories

    • Ego-defence theories

    • Gender theories

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Influencing women s under representation in stem

Influencing Women’s Under-representation In STEM

  • Strategies to influence

    • Socio-cultural factors

    • Pedagogical factors

    • Impact of the digital divide

  • Strategies to influence decision making

    • Motivation theories

    • Identity theories

    • Ego-defence theories

    • Gender theories

  • Ambitions for PREMA: some sharing; maybe some strategic initiatives

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Uk policy iv

UK Policy IV

Actions in the UK?

  • More good teachers

  • None traditional subject combinations – with music, art etc.

  • A more exciting curriculum

  • More choice within mathematics

  • Perhaps reform university teaching

  • EU initiatives should set out to share effective practices where relevant and applicable in local cultural contexts

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

Interviews with 20 high attaining girls and boys about choices to take or not take a maths course

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Conclusions from interviews i

Conclusions From Interviews I

  • Socio-cultural factors

    • Surprising absence of stereotypes

  • Pedagogical factors

    • Descriptions of weak gender effects

    • Strong emphasis on the quality of teacher explanation

    • Strong emphasis on student effort and understanding

  • Impact of the digital divide

    • ICT hardly used in mathematics; seen as irrelevant

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Implications for action1

Implications For Action

  • Curriculum reform

    • towards more enjoyable and creative mathematics

  • Pedagogy

    • reward effort, engagement and understanding

  • Communication

    • Wider applications of mathematics

    • Careers using mathematics

    • On the implications of different subject choices

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


National initiatives

National Initiatives

Very big national differences

England views this as a priority;

In some other countries it was hard to get policy makers interested

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Pedagogical factors

Pedagogical Factors

  • Curriculum structures and materials

  • Teacher perceptions of boys and girls

  • Student perceptions of boys and girls

  • Perceptions of good teaching

  • Perceptions of a good student

  • Socio-cultural factors

  • Impact of ICT

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Curriculum structures and materials

Curriculum Structures and Materials

  • Big National Differences

    • e.g Poland

      • Gendered courses (cookery vs woodwork)

      • Portrayal of men and women in textbooks

    • e.g. Austria

      • Not so

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Teacher perceptions of boys and girls i

Teacher Perceptions of Boys and Girls I

  • Big national differences

    • (Poland) belief in inherent differences

      • Girls are worse at logical thinking

      • Should girls really go into STEM?

    • Austria and England - none

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Teacher perceptions of boys and girls ii

Teacher Perceptions of Boys and Girls II

  • Consensus that Girls…

    • are less confident

    • ask fewer questions

    • answer fewer questions

    • are less disruptive

    • work harder

    • Are better at detail

    • want to get good grades

  • Big national differences in strength of beliefs

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Student perceptions of boys and girls i

Student Perceptions of Boys and Girls I

  • Girls

    • Study more

    • Try to be good in all subjects

    • Are more systematic

    • Are less disruptive

    • Answer fewer questions

  • Big national differences in strength of beliefs

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Perceptions of good teaching

Perceptions of Good Teaching

  • Generic

    • Good explanation

    • Good subject knowledge

  • Little agreement on good activities

    • (group work, discussions etc.)

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Perceptions of a good student

Perceptions of a Good Student

  • Generic

    • Work hard

    • Learn for understanding

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Socio cultural factors

Socio-cultural Factors

  • Very big national differencesPoland<>England

    • Beliefs in essential differences

    • Political campaigns

    • Parent pressure or support for autonomy

    • Supportive or unsupportive employment legislation

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Pedagogical factors1

Pedagogical Factors

  • Portrayal in texts

  • Gendered courses (cookery vs woodwork)

  • School behaviour

    • Work hard, persist, engage, are systematic and neat, help friends

  • Classroom behaviour

    • Disrupt, volunteer, ask questions, are diligent, competitive

  • Teacher beliefs (Poland) in inherent differences

  • Teacher questioning

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Understanding decision making

Understanding: Decision Making

  • ‘Pull’ and rational decision making are common claims

  • Big national differences in the perceived influences of parents, other students, cultural influences such as the acceptability of a ‘career woman’

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Impact of ict

Impact Of ICT

  • Computer studies is ‘masculine’

  • ICT not much used in mathematics

  • ICT not much expected in mathematics

  • ICT has no effect on students’ relationship with mathematics

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Implications for action2

Implications For Action

  • Monitoring educational changes

    • STEM and the rest

  • Engaging policy makers (e.g. Greece, France)

  • Better employment legislation

  • Revised curricula (school and university)

    • the rest, as well as STEM

      • content and pedagogy

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Implications for action i

Implications For Action I

  • Policy makers should address the flight from STEM

  • Monitor educational changes

    • STEM and the rest

  • Sexist curriculum materials and practices should be changed

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Implications for action iv

Implications For Action IV

  • Influence Socio-cultural factors

  • Political awareness of the differences in attainment and career choices by men and women – and the financial implications

  • Publicise distinguished women mathematicians

  • Look for and remove stereotyped images in text books

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices in the 6th form

Making Mathematics Choices in the 6th Form

Jim Ridgway

jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


Making mathematics choices for the 6th form

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk


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