Mathematics at St Margaret’s
The goal of the Mathematics Faculty at St Margaret’s is to empower young women to achieve to their highest potential in mathematics. Our overarching program focuses on developing strong positive self-efficacy in mathematics through an approach which centres on mastery goals rather than achievement goals.
Feedback in Mathematics
We believe the strongest form of self-belief comes from success which is developed through reflection, effort and action. In the classroom, students receive feedback on their effort and process rather than on their answers and there is a strong emphasis on “you can with effort”. Our assessment model involves two dimensions: mastery learning quizzes, which are designed to develop automaticity of mathematical skills; and a process of second chance testing, which is designed to increase the retention, skill and procedural capacities of students at each point of learning. Both dimensions are supported by Excel spreadsheets which enable the students to track their level of confidence and success in specific learning objectives and provide resources to support students remediate areas of weakness. The increase in students’ desire and ability to accept responsibility for their own learning is an important and planned by-product of this model.
Differentiation and Challenge in Mathematics
The teachers in the Mathematics Faculty recognise that at any point in time students are at different stages in their learning journey. We also strongly believe that the extent of the learning journey in mathematics is directly related to their level of self-efficacy in the subject. In class, teachers are supportive and responsive to the needs of individual students through scaffolding of learning tasks. Exposing girls to challenge at every level is an important aspect of classroom practice. We also acknowledge that challenge has a myriad of dimensions in mathematics. In light of this we offer the girls challenging questions in class but also provide those in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 with a site dedicated to enrichment activities. Students can connect with this space via their year level pod site. Students can explore and engage with a variety of challenges. Students who negotiate the materials studied more quickly are also given opportunities to participate in the ICAS competition, compete in Maths Team Challenges both within school and against other schools, and engage with AMT competitions such as the Maths Olympiad, Maths Challenge and the Enrichment program.
Connection in Mathematics
John Hattie identified strong, positive student-teacher connection as having a high effect size (0.72) on student learning. The staff in this faculty are all specialist mathematics teachers, which promotes the high level of confidence the students have in them. They each have a strong commitment to improving learning outcomes for girls. They recognise the importance of providing a learning environment which has high expectations; embraces failure as a necessary step in the learning process; and is supportive, fair and promotes a sense of belonging and of being valued. The teachers in the faculty offer a significant amount of time to support the learning journey of students at tutorials both before and after school.
Motivation in Mathematics
The staff in the Mathematics Faculty are highly motivated and passionate teachers buoyed by a belief that success in Mathematics is not dependent on hereditary characteristics but rather success stems from effort, resilience and persistence. Research into neuroscience confirms that with correct and spaced practice, challenge and persistence new neural connections are formed. It is imperative that students adopt a growth mindset.
Subjects in the Mathematics Faculty
- Junior Mathematics (Years 7 to 9)
- Mathematics 1 (Year 10)
- Mathematics 2 (Year 10)
- General Mathematics (Years 11 and 12)
- Mathematical Methods (Years 11 and 12)
- Specialist Mathematics (Years 11 and 12)