MMS - Primary School
In the context of the IQSH project “Nobody left behind” the MMS – Primary School support program aims at recognizing learning difficulties in maths at the earliest stage possible. This is being done in order to prevent problems with math in later stages.
For this program, the Institute for Quality Development of Schools in Schleswig-Holstein (IQSH) developed materials for teachers and students under the supervision of the IPN. The materials can be utilized for diagnosis and support during regular mathematics teaching.
|Altogether for 24 core mathematical content areas in grade 1/2 (see Figure 1), respective class tasks as well as tasks for an individual diagnosis (interview) are available. The entire class is assigned written tasks which take about ten minutes and serve the purpose of identifying students with difficulties in the respective subject area. With these students the teacher carries out a short individual interview, in order to understand the student’s individual comprehension difficulties. According to the results of the diagnosis, the teachers can make use of specific support guidelines in addition to the available didactical advice. These aids can also be implemented alongside conventional primary school learning material. In order to gauge and document the pupils’ progress, two to four content areas are concluded with a “milestone” test. These tests are to be found in the student’s exercise book.||
|Figure 1: Milestones of the mathematics primary school support program (in German)|
Since the school year 2013/2014, one hundred schools in Schleswig-Holstein have been participating in the project which is spanned over four years. In 2014/2015, 43 more schools were affiliated with the project. In regional in-service training programs, the participating teachers receive didactical and subject-oriented background knowledge in addition to the previously distributed material. Moreover, the opportunity to exchange experiences is also possible.
Further information on the support program can be found here (in German).
Sub-project 1: Evaluation of the support program
The evaluation of the MMS – Primary School support program will analyse how effective the support is in preventing difficulties when learning mathematics. For this purpose, a quasi-experimental design with three groups was chosen:
(1) Besides the material and supporting in-service training, 20 schools receive two additional teaching hours per week in order to implement the support.
(2) Ten schools receive the materials and in-service trainings, however, without the additional weekly teaching hours.
(3) Ten schools outside of the support program serve as control group. They carry out the standard student diagnosis and support in everyday teaching situations as typical for Schleswig-Holstein.
The schools involved in the test were chosen in view of their comparability in social, cultural and performance-related composition of the students. Altogether, data from approx. 2500 students is being collected. Five written tests were carried out in the participating schools with all first year students throughout the school year 2013/14. In the second school year another three tests follow. The test tasks are oriented towards the content areas of the MMS materials and record relevant features of understanding the concept of numbers as well as calculation competencies. At the end of the first to fourth school year, a test is administered which was developed in the context of the PERLE project (Kassel University) and is suitable for a longitudinal study of competence development in arithmetic.
In order to control individual differences between single students as well as classes and school influences, the learning prerequisites related to mathematics were ascertained at the start of the project (Hamburger Rechentest, HaReT). A similar procedure was also carried out for language competencies (Münsteraner Screening, MÜSC). Halfway through the first school year, students’ basic cognitive abilities (CFT 1-R) were also tested. Moreover, on the one hand, background variables were collected about the teachers concerning their teaching; on the other, background variables were also gathered about the children from their parents. The teachers who work with the MMS material also document which children were specifically supported as well as the extent of the frequency and the content areas of the support.
Sub-project 2: Analysing the competence development in arithmetic
As a result of the detailed compilation of specific arithmetical competences at different time points in first and second primary school classes, assumptions about the competence development in the field of arithmetic can be analysed which go beyond the evaluation of the support program. This study is intended to offer a contribution to clarifying the significance of certain mathematical subcompetencies which are credited with an important role in the curriculum, resp. in mathematics education literature.
The study enables those subcompetencies to be identified, which are especially predictive for the competence development in mathematics teaching at primary school level.
|Project duration||2013 – 2017|
Torben von Seeler (Content supervisor „MMS – Primary School“)