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Project Maths is an ambitious reform of Irish post-primary education. It involves changes to what students learn in mathematics, how they learn it and how they will be assessed. There is a much greater emphasis placed on student understanding of mathematical concepts, with increased use of contexts and applications that will enable students to relate mathematics to their everyday experiences. The assessment reflects the different emphasis on problem solving and applications in the teaching and learning of mathematics and there is a much greater emphasis on reading and understanding the problems. Hence there is a greater emphasis on student’s English language proficiency. This study aims to investigate the effect of Project Maths on international students studying in Ireland who do not speak English as their first language. As part of the study participants completed two sample examinations, one which comprised of mathematical word problems and the other which was technically the same examination but was mathematical procedure and skill based only. The results show a statistically significant difference between the mean scores of students in both examinations, with students performing better when the majority of language and context in questions was removed. This highlights the impact that literacy skills can play in the mathematics classroom.
Faulkner, F., Prendergast, M. & O'Hara, Clare. (2016). The Effect of High Literacy Demands in Mathematics on International Students International Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 1-8. doi:10.17278/ijesim.2016.02.003