KINGSTON — Teachers in secondary schools across the island are to benefit from an innovative scope and sequence teaching module, which promises to yield significant improvements in the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) Mathematics results.
The Mathematics Scope and Sequence Teaching Module was handed over to Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, at a ceremony at the National Commercial Bank’s (NCB) Wellness Centre, in Kingston, yesterday.
An initiative of the NCB Foundation, the project, which was undertaken by former Principal, Campion College, Radley Reid, and a team of experts, outlines best practises in the teaching of Mathematics at the secondary level.
Mr. Holness gave his commitment that the teaching module will be infused into the Mathematics syllabus at the CSEC level in schools across the island, while the Ministry will also take on the responsibility of training teachers in the new approach.
The Minister said the study is well appreciated, as the Ministry is working assiduously to improve the CSEC results of students in several subject areas, with special attention being placed on Mathematics.
“Mathematics is one of our weakest areas in education. As a result of our weakness in the subject, we are also weak in the sciences, and because Math is the language of science. If we have any hope, any intention of being world leaders, we have to conquer our fear of Mathematics,” he argued.
Mr. Holness further stated that much of the fear associated with the subject is cultural and, therefore, more of a psycho-social problem. “We have not placed Math as a priority, as we place other things. I’m certain that as much as we are good athletes, we could be good Mathematicians, providing that the psycho-social institutions, for example…the family, (place) more importance on the subject of Math,” he remarked.
He said the Ministry is working to conquer the problem. “We are moving in an institutional way to require families, parents, and the society to place emphasis on achievement in literacy and numeracy,” the Minister emphasised.
He commended the NCB Foundation for its investment in developing the scope and sequence teaching module, noting that it had the potential to transform the teaching of Math in secondary schools.
In 2004, the NCB Foundation initiated and implemented a pilot project in an effort to improve the performance by students in the CSEC/CXC Mathematics examination.
A pilot phase of the project, which was led by Mr. Reid and noted educators, Terry Tomlinson and Lola McKinley, was implemented over a period of three years in six high schools in Kingston and St. Andrew.
These included: Jamaica College, St. George’s College, Gaynstead, Meadowbrook, Mona and St. Hugh’s High Schools.
Chief Executive Officer, NCB Foundation, Sheree Martin, said the aim of the project was to provide for these schools and eventually other schools, a resource to guide the teaching and learning processes of the Mathematics curriculum at the secondary level in preparation for the CSEC.
Miss Martin said the Foundation was, therefore, pleased to hand over the new module to the Ministry, in the hope that it will complement the Mathematics curriculum.
“We hope that it will provide a platform from which teachers will be able to effectively deliver Math in the classroom, with ease and clarity, enabling increased performances at the CSEC level,” she added.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter