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1.1 MATHEMATICS, 5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
In 2010 a mathematics curriculum was introduced in Irish second level schools entitled ‘Project Maths’ (PM). It aimed to refocus second level mathematics teaching and learning away from an over emphasis on procedural mathematics towards problem solving and real understanding [Department of Education and Skills (DES). (2010). Report of the Project Maths implementation support group. https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Report-of-the-Project-Maths-Implementation-Group.pdf]. This paper aims to examine the performance of 1st year undergraduate students’ procedural and problem solving skills after the introduction of PM. A diagnostic test was developed to determine students’ skills in each area and findings demonstrated that students perform statistically significantly better in the procedural skills in mathematics when compared to problem solving skills. These findings raise concerns around the lack of anticipated improved problem solving skills of a cohort of students exposed to this style of teaching and learning. The paper raises discussion surrounding the intended and actual teaching and learning taking place in second level classrooms along with consideration for the potential role of learned helplessness and the literacy issues. Recommendations are made for follow up qualitative research with stakeholders in mathematics education to better understand the ‘why’ of the results presented here.
Fiona Faulkner, Cormac Breen, Mark Prendergast & Michael Carr (2021) Profiling mathematical procedural and problem-solving skills of undergraduate students following a new mathematics curriculum, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/0020739X.2021.1953625