Education Services Curriculum Policy February 2001 Catholic Education Office Diocese of Wollongong Numeracy Policy “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” John 10:10 CATHOLIC E DUCATION OFFICE DIOCESE OF WOLLONGONG PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS The Catholic school is founded on the Gospel values of justice, equity and transformation. Catholic schools are concerned with the formation of questioning Christians who have “respect for others; conscientious responsibility; a sincere and constant search for truth; a calm and peaceful critical spirit; a solidarity with, and service toward all other persons; a sensitivity for justice; (and) a special awareness of being called to be positive agents of change in a society that is undergoing continuous transformation” (Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith. n.64). Consequently, the development of a high standard of numeracy is an essential task if students are to become active participants and shapers of society. Catholic educators believe that: • to participate effectively in society, individuals need to develop an innate numeracy that allows them to use their mathematical skills to interpret quantitative information, perform mental calculations, estimate and measure • numeracy learning is lifelong and extends beyond the school context to the wider community • numerate individuals are better equipped to effectively participate in a technologically advanced society • all students should be given the opportunity to develop their numeracy levels to their full potential • explicit teaching and efficient use of time are necessary for effective numeracy learning to occur • well-developed literacy skills enhance further numeracy learning across all Key Learning Areas • literacy and numeracy involve complementary skills • the early years of schooling are critical in the shaping of effective numeracy learning What is Numeracy? Numeracy (mathematical literacy) refers to the individual’s ability to use mathematical ideas efficiently to make sense of the world. It makes use of number and spatial sense combined with critical mathematical thinking involving measurement, chance and data. To be numerate, is to use mathematics effectively to meet the general demands of life at home, in paid work and for participation in community and civil life. A numerate individual is one who has the ability to interpret, apply and communicate mathematical information in commonly encountered situations to enable full, critical and effective participation in everyday life. EXPECTATIONS School Numeracy Policy Systemic schools will develop a numeracy policy in consultation with teaching staff and the wider community that reflects the expectations of the Diocesan numeracy policy. School numeracy policies will take account of each school’s circumstances and needs and will contain a statement that describes the values, beliefs and understandings, underpinning the policy. The statement will reflect the priorities developed by each school community through a consultative process. School Numeracy Plan In consultation with Catholic Education Office, teaching staff and the wider community, schools will develop a numeracy plan. Schools are encouraged to design their own numeracy plans, that: • identify key focus areas • have an agreed set of outcomes • outline the strategies that will be used to achieve these outcomes • detail how the effectiveness of strategies will be evaluated • identify the indicators that will be used to measure student achievement • detail the personnel responsible for each focus area • are signed off with the appropriate Head of Cluster Services • are published and made available to the school community Assessment Systemic schools will employ a range of tools to assess and report on student achievement. The following measures must form part of the school’s overall assessment and reporting procedures: • Primary o Starting with Assessment – Early Stage 1, Stage 1 and Stage 2 o Basic Skills Test (BST) • Secondary o Secondary Numeracy Assessment Project (SNAP) o School Certificate Mathematics Test All assessment information collected will form part of the ongoing assessment and observation that teachers use to: • monitor and report on students’ progress at system, school and community levels • evaluate the effectiveness of learning/teaching programs and • design more effective learning/teaching programs Learning and Teaching All schools are expected to implement relevant Diocesan numeracy strategies including Starting With Assessment and, where necessary, individual learning programs for students with specific numeracy needs. All primary and secondary schools must ensure that numeracy strategies that support students’ numeracy development are embedded in learning and teaching programs across Key Learning Areas. Time Allocation All primary school teachers will allocate a daily numeracy block of approximately one hour. This will allow schools to meet the requirements of the Mathematics K- 6 syllabus while providing scope for the integration of other Key Learning Areas. Professional Development The Principal and school leadership team will, in consultation with teaching staff, devise and implement a plan for professional development in response to numeracy needs that is embedded in the School Strategic Plan. This will include participation in Diocesan professional development activities.
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