E4I focus on Mathematics Mastery

Posted on 17 July 2018

The intervention we will be looking at this week from Evidence4Impact is Mathematics Mastery.

Mathematics Mastery has been rated as ‘moderate’ for primary maths. This lets educators know that the intervention has a moderate chance of improving pupils’ outcomes in maths at primary level if it is implemented as designed. The intervention has also been rated as ‘limited’ for secondary maths.

The intervention is based on a simple way to teach mathematics originally developed by the Singapore Ministry for Education.

Mathematics Mastery is a whole-school approach to teaching mathematics that aims to raise attainment for all pupils and close the attainment gap between pupils from low income families and their peers. It aims to deepen pupils’ conceptual understanding of key mathematical concepts.

The intervention uses a ‘mastery’ approach, in which teachers do not move on until all pupils have acquired a basic understanding of the current topic. More able pupils can explore each topic in depth, and therefore remain engaged.

The Education Endowment Foundation ran two randomised controlled trials, in 2011 and 2014, investigating the effectiveness of Mathematics Mastery. The evaluations found it had a positive impact on maths at primary level, but showed insufficient evidence of impact on maths at secondary level. The primary level study was carried out with Year 1 pupils and the secondary with Year 7 pupils.

The studies found a mean effect size of +0.10 in primary maths and +0.06 in secondary maths.

It is unclear whether the intervention had a different impact on pupils eligible for free school meals, or on pupils with higher or lower attainment.

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