Improving low-attaining students’ outcomes in mathematics at Key Stage 3

Victoria Stone

Victoria explored the effects of academic interventions with low-attaining Year 7 students. She wanted to find out a) the common mathematical interventions that were used by teachers; b) the effects of specific interventions on students’ attainment; and c) the effects of specific interventions on students’ mathematical engagement and self-concept (their sense of confidence in their ability to tackle maths).

She found that teachers were most concerned with basic numeracy skills and with self- regulation (identifying strategies to approach problems) –  and conducted a small scale trial of two interventions one of each kind. Because the sample sizes were small the results are not statistically significant, but her results are of interest in that she found that the focus on number skills and knowledge actually had a small negative effect whereas the focus on training students in strategies to tackle unfamiliar problems had a positive impact and thus might be more effective in improving attainment and self-concept in maths.

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