mathematics as well as helping them to achieve at GCSE. MSM materials are currently being developed for use with more able pupils aiming for the Higher tier GCSE. The Gatsby funded project was evaluated at the time, but there has been no subsequent evaluation of the development of RME and the MiC and MSM projects. The curriculum development body, Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) became interested in the RME approach, believing this approach has the potential to make a substantial contribution to mathematics education and is supporting the projects at MMU. MEI has commissioned this evaluation. The evaluation comprises both qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative methods Interviews, by telephone and face-to-face, were conducted with teachers currently using MiC and/or trialling the MSM materials to discern their experiences, views and any issues involved in using the RME approach. These interviews were enhanced through observation of some of these teachers using the RME approach in their classrooms with pupils and also by interviewing some of their pupils. Outcomes:These teachers are enthusiastic, and believe in the philosophy of RME, finding it a natural way for children to learn mathematics. They emphasised that it is essential that teachers understand the philosophy and are trained in the use of the materials, highlighting that ‘you can’t just pick up the books and use them; it will not be effective’. These teachers believe the RME approach develops a better understanding of mathematics in their pupils than more traditional methods.
Using Realistic Mathematics Education in UK classrooms 21Teachers reported that the contexts and related activities interest the pupils and so engage them in the lesson. Their pupils experience a range of activities, including practical work and discussion. Discussion at various levels, in pairs, in a group or whole class is an essential part of the RME approach. Formal statements of objectives given at the start of the lesson and traditional formal lesson plans can be a hindrance rather than a help in the RME approach, but teachers need to be well prepared, well organised and have appropriate resources for activities to hand. They note it may take several lessons for pupils to internalise the models they work with, but, once they do, they can understand how these models can be applied in a variety of contexts. Pupils are generally receptive to the RME approach. They enjoy working together to solve the problems and sharing their strategies and solutions with each other. They look forward to mathematics lessons. The transcripts of interviews with teachers who participated in the Gatsby project were available and analysed, with teachers reporting much the same views about RME as the current interviewees. Quantitative methods Some assessment data from Year 7 pupils from the 2004–06 MiC project were reanalysed using Rasch modelling. This compared achievement and understanding of pupils who had experienced RME with a matched group of pupils who had not. The results indicated those pupils who had experienced RME were not only more likely to solve a problem correctly, but
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- Spring '18
- Peter Lee
- Physics, Mathematics education, Rme, Realistic Mathematics Education