Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2023

What is working in numeracy and maths

What is this?

This resource provides a summary of what is working in numeracy and mathematics for the Scottish Attainment Challenge and beyond. 

Who is this for?

Headteachers, principal teachers, senior leadership teams and practitioners in maths and numeracy. It may also be of use to local Authority colleagues, improvement managers and officers.

The information will provide detail on emerging pedagogy and research that demonstrates an impact on improving numeracy and mathematics outcomes for young people.

The SWAY resource outlines:

  1. rationale
  2. COVID-19 recovery
  3. summary
  4. thematic review: what is working well
  5. South Ayrshire
  6. examples of other schools demonstrating emerging practice
  7. research and links
  8. reflective questions and self-evaluation wheel

Explore this resource

There is emerging evidence of positive impact reported when:

  • pedagogy ensures children gain a depth of understanding rather than relying on procedures and algorithms
  • manipulatives are used to support understanding
  • the concrete, pictorial abstract model is promoted
  • mathematical reasoning is developed through use a variety of approaches, for example bar modelling or non-routine tasks
  • discussion of strategies is encouraged through talking about number calculations

The biggest impacts observed are when a school or secondary department work together to review their teaching and learning, plan collaboratively, reflect and review changes. 

Improvement questions

Senior Leaders

  • Where are the strengths in our curriculum, learning and teaching and attainment in numeracy and mathematics?
  • How clearly do we know our priorities for improvement and how convincing are our plans and strategies?
  • Where do numeracy and mathematics feature in our improvement planning?
  • How well do we use the four curriculum contexts, real-world topics and wider contexts and contributions to add value and credibility to our programmes in numeracy and mathematics?
  • Among our professional learning targets, do we need to do anything to improve our capacity for generating and analysing attainment data?

Middle leaders and practitioners

  • What response do I see from children and young people when we are working on numeracy and mathematics?
  • What impact do my approaches and pedagogy have on them, in terms of outcomes progression and achievements?
  • Do I have a clear understanding of current thinking on high-quality learning and teaching in numeracy and mathematics, relevant to the children and young people I work with?
  • Do my opportunities for professional learning give me confidence that my practices are effective and improving?