Numeracy Consultancy gets Underway

GIS News, 2011

Numeracy Consultancy gets Underway By Mara Etienne-Manley

As part of Government’s objective to transform the educational landscape on the island, the Ministry of Education has embarked on a pilot programme to address low levels of numeracy among primary school students in Dominica. The Primary Education Numeracy Pilot Consultancy forms part of the Dominica Education Enhancement Project (DEEP) which was launched in July 2010.

The (DEEP) Project is funded by the Government of Dominica through a loan facility from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank.

The aim of the Numeracy Consultancy is to determine why students’ performance in key examinations such as National Assessments in Grades 2, 4 and 6 and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) is consistently poor in Mathematics. This is an area of significant concern and so the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development seeks to urgently address the problems associated with the pedagogy of numeracy in local schools.

The Pilot Programme, to be implemented at primary school level in the first instance, will equip Grade 2 teachers with the training, resources, supervision and support needed to effectively deliver instruction in Mathematics. It is therefore expected to contribute to the improvement of students’ grades and reverse the trend of poor performance levels in that subject.

Coordinator of the Dominica Education Enhancement Project, Randolph Felix says the Consultants are working closely with Education Officers and numeracy specialists to fulfill the objectives of the project, particularly at Grade 2 level.

“The Consultants here have been visiting the schools, observing the teachers at work. The consultancy [will] concentrate primarily on Grade 2, because this is the first class in which the National Assessment is being done. Based on the findings of that pilot, the programme will then be replicated throughout the system.”

The Numeracy Consultants are expected to observe and assess the suitability of the teaching methods and practices used to teach Mathematics and identify ‘best practices’ that result in excellence in student performance. Recommendations on pedagogical materials to support numeracy instruction for students in Grade 2 also form part of the consultancy.

The Consultation which began on November 15, 2011 will continue over a period of fifteen months, subsequently, the Ministry of Education will introduce specific training programmes for teachers, to support effective delivery in Mathematics instruction.