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Education Ministry Welcomes Study to Improve Performance in Mathematics


JIS: The Education, Youth and Information Ministry is welcoming the findings of a recently concluded study, designed to provide solutions to improving students’ performance in mathematics at the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) level.


Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said the pilot project, undertaken by The Mico University College, represents another strategy by his Ministry to “ramp up” the teaching and learning outcomes of mathematics.


Addressing a press briefing at the Marescaux Road-based institution on September 13, the Minister said the project comes against the background of several initiatives from his Ministry that seek to “highlight the beauty, utility and applicability of mathematics”.


“It (project) dispels the myth that the subject is difficult, cold, abstract and only accessible to a few,” Mr. Reid said of the study commissioned by the Caribbean Centre of Excellence in Mathematics Teaching (CCEMaT) at The Mico.


The study involved a sample of 840 students and 24 teachers selected from four primary schools in Kingston, and used a mixed method of research to collate and analyse the data.


It revealed that building teachers’ subject knowledge and developing students’ problem-solving skills significantly impacted the performance of students in mathematics.


It recommends that policymakers within the education sector should ensure that all teachers of mathematics are given an opportunity to enhance their subject knowledge. It further suggested that developing the problem-solving skills in students must be mandatory in all mathematics lessons at all levels of the education system.


The Minister indicated that the findings from the research will guide his Ministry in addressing the noted decline in math results for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams.


The study was a collaborative initiative between CCEMaT, Plymouth University in the United Kingdom and Sterling Asset Management, which provided the funding.


The Mico’s President, Dr. Ashburn Pinnock, said the study was a response to the Government’s concern in 2014 over students’ weaknesses in mathematics.


CAPTION: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (left), greets Director of the Centre of Innovation in Mathematics Teaching at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, Professor David Burghes (centre). Occasion was a press briefing to present the findings of a study on improving students’ performance in mathematics at the primary school level in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), at The Mico University College on September 13. At right is Pro-Chancellor of The Mico University College, Professor Neville Ying.