Mind the Gap

What we learnt:

When major learning gaps build over time, there is little difference in knowledge between Grade 9 and Grade 11 learners. The learning gaps are evident in Mathematics are possibly even worse in Science.

The background

In partnership with LEAP School, Edunova’s Learning Centres were supporting schools through leadership development, specialised education information and communication technology services and promoting best practice in teaching and learning. The project team saw the need for a more rigorous Maths and Science intervention which required a detailed diagnostics assessment to design a more impactful intervention programme. Assessments for Maths and Science were run over a three-day period from 16 schools with more than 800 students ranging from Years 7 to 11.

The results: Maths

There was an overall average of 41.7% for Maths. Even though students ranged between Years 7 and 11, all students were actually functioning at between Year 6 and 9 level for Numbers. Interestingly, there was effectively no difference between Year 9 and 11 students, with Measurement showing a similar pattern. The other five journeys showed slight increases with increasing year. However, significant differences were only found in Patterns & Algebra (which is a large part of Maths in later years) and Data Handling (which is often reinforced in other school subjects).

The results: Science

Unfortunately, the results for Science were even worse with overall average of 24.4%. Besides one exception, every year-group for every thread were functioning between Year 3 and 6 level and achieved similar across each topic. While poor English would certainly have played a role in these results, the assessments are designed to not require specific content to be learned ahead of time.

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