Students Think Maths Teachers Should Be Measured On Student Performance

Students Think Maths Teachers Should Be Measured On Student Performance

28 February 2013 at 14:06

Over 62% of students surveyed by Engineers Ireland think maths teachers should be measured on the performance of their students, it was revealed as part of Engineers Week 2013.

In a survey of 153 students in the Leaving Certificate cycle, 84% of the students surveyed also think engineers entering classrooms to explain the practical applications of maths in everyday life would help their understanding of the subject.  Just over 89% of students believe being good at maths would offer better career prospects.

The fourth day of Engineers Week 2013 focused on maths in schools, the highlight being the Dr Maths Workshop in the Engineers Ireland lecture theatre on Clyde Road, attended by Ruairi Quinn TD, Minister for Education and Skills.  

Students packed the lecture theatre to take part in the fun and interactive workshop which explored the real-life applications of maths with presenter, UK celebrity Maths expert, Dr Steve Humble, otherwise known as Dr Maths.

Commenting on the day and the activities across Engineers Week 2013, Minister Quinn said: “It’s important to encourage students to pursue maths and in particular higher level maths.  Engineers Ireland is playing its part here with events during Engineers Week highlighting the importance and real life application of maths and also with its connections with local schools to promote maths and the new maths syllabus Project Maths throughout the year.”

“The feedback from students is clear – they are beginning to understand the career benefits of a good grasp of maths, with many believing performance evaluation of maths teachers would help in this regard,” Engineers Ireland Director General John Power said.  “And there is also a clear desire emerging on the part of students to have industry support to help them understand how maths is used in everyday life.  The 84% figure in this survey follows a study we did of maths teachers last year that found over three quarters thought students would benefit from industrial visits to view real-life application of maths.  All this makes it very apparent that a greater role for industry to support maths teaching would be hugely valued by both teachers and students.” 

“I strongly believe the maths expertise of engineers is a valuable resource in this respect.  Over 4,000 hours of volunteer engineer time is already being given freely to working with students in classrooms to improve the understanding of maths and engineering as a career – there is a clear need to build on this,” said Power.

The Engineers Ireland STEPS team, a strategic partner of the national Discover Science and Engineering programme, has developed a range of support materials which are available on its website (STEPS.ie) to assist maths teachers.  This includes online video tutorials for junior and senior cycle as well as worksheets. Engineers Ireland also provide free maths tutorials for students across Ireland and a volunteer programme whereby engineers enter schools and talk how maths is used in an engineering career.  The body has also worked with the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science at the University of Limerick to develop Continuous Professional Development (CPD) materials for teachers as part of the delivery of the national programme for the up-skilling of maths teachers.

Engineers Week 2013 continues with Friday, March 1 with engineering employers across Ireland running organised tours of their facilities as part of ‘Open Day’.  Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3 will feature family-oriented engineering shows in many regions to conclude the week.  An estimated 497 events are taking place nationwide over the course of the week. 

For further information about Engineers Week 2013 or to register your attendance at an event log onto www.engineersweek.ie.