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Foong, P. Y. (1999). Can we identify the reasons for a pupil’s low attainment in mathematics? In M. Waas (Ed.), Enhancing learning: Challenge of integrating thinking and information technology into the curriculum: Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the Educational Research Association ( pp. 648-659). Singapore: Plaza Parkroyal Hotel.
Teachers attending an in-service course on underachievers in mathematics were assigned a school-based project, “Adopt-a-Child” case study. They had to decide whom they considered to be low attainers in mathematics. They had to observe and interview the child in school to draw up a profile identifying the reasons for the child’s underachievement. Interviews with parents were also conducted. Teachers had to carry out remediation strategies to help these pupils overcome their difficulties. The teachers from different schools in Singapore selected thirteen primary six pupils and six primary two pupils for the case studies. The main objective of this project is to find the dominant reasons for the primary six pupils’ difficulties in learning mathematics through the years of their education and to detect any trend of underachievement from the primary two case studies. The results of the case studies can be used to enhance in-service teacher training programme. The insightful information obtained could help teachers develop more effective approaches within school and classroom. Besides pupils’ background, some of the dominant causes of low attainment could be due to the mathematics curricula, standardised assessment and teaching methods.
This paper was published in the 1999 Proceedings of the ERA Annual Conference held at Plaza Parkroyal Hotel, Singapore from 23-25 November 1998
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