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Maths is taught to all years from first to sixth year as per the DES Syllabus and Guidelines, with ‘Mathematical Applications’ taught to Leaving Certificate Applied students. Learning support is available, where appropriate, from the learning support team and ‘Applied Mathematics’ as an additional subject is available to Leaving Certificate students in fifth and sixth year. At O’ Carolan College we believe the development of numeracy skills is a basic entitlement for all. All students should experience a rich numeracy learning environment, regardless of perceived ‘ability’. Numeracy involves the application of knowledge, skills and understanding essential for personal and social development and to life-long learning.
At Junior Cycle the Mathematics Department has is currently rolling out the new Junior Cycle Mathematics course. There are now two Classroom-Based Assessments (CBA) in Mathematics. They relate to specified learning outcomes and are scheduled to be undertaken by students in a defined time period within class contact time to a national timetable (as advised by the NCCA) in the school calendar. Following the second of these assessments, students, in Year Three, complete an Assessment Task (AT) which is sent to the State Examinations Commission, with the final examination script for that subject, for marking.
The first CBA is entitled “A Mathematical Investigation. This CBA gives students an opportunity to research a question they have about some phenomena of interest from the world around them or that they have come across in the course of their mathematical studies or their studies in other subjects. The development of inquiry, collaborative, practical, recording and reporting skills is central to this CBA. These skills include posing questions and mathematising situations, working with others, designing experiments, conducting experiments, sourcing, generating and recording data, processing and analysing the data to make valid conclusions. The student will also have to shown an ability to communicate their method used, data recorded, findings, and reflections on the investigation.
The second CBA is entitled “A Statistical Investigation. This CBA gives students an opportunity to carry out an investigation that involves varying data. This data may be related to work they have encountered in other subjects or to a question they have about some quantitative phenomena of interest from the world around them. In addition to using the inquiry skills they develop in the first CBA, they will be designing studies (experiments, surveys or observational studies), conducting studies, generating and recording primary data, processing and analysing the data, dealing with variability in data, making valid conclusions, interpreting conclusions in context and communicating findings to others.
The Assessment Task is directly related to the nature and focus of the second Classroom-Based Assessment the Statistical Investigation, which is to pose a question, gather and analyse data and interpret it in the context of the original question. The knowledge and skills developed by students during this Classroom-Based Assessment emerge from their growing awareness of statistical inquiry.
Department meetings were formally held and minuted regularly throughout the year. These meetings were used to discuss department planning, allocation of classes, review programmes of work, organising Maths Week, organising purchase of resources, review department plan, record results and expected results, arrange Christmas and Summer tests, prepare marking schemes and discuss textbooks. Each Maths classroom has a PC, projector and Senior Maths teachers have a Microsoft Surface tablet. Geogebra software has been installed on all PCs in OCC. All classrooms now have a full set of geometry equipment for use on the whiteboard, 30 geometry sets for student use, 30 A4 mini whiteboards for group work, full set of Stakubes and Geostrips, Dice and Jumbo Playing cards. In addition to this there is a full set of all of the above for maths classes that do not take place in a designated Maths room. There are also one full classroom set of trundle wheels, measuring tapes and clinometers for use in the teaching of Geometry and Trigonometry available to all maths classrooms.
Students have full access in school and at home to the Project Maths website, which contains invaluable resources and worksheets. All junior students now have their own ‘show-me’ board which are used regularly in class as a valuable teaching aid.