Siegler et al. (2012) demonstrated that primary school students experiences with fractions and division, can reliably predict their mathematics achievement in high school, five or six years later. This research, a major international comparative study, sounds a dire warning, when we know such topics are frequently taught poorly. As student engagement with mathematics and science in upper school plummets, much of the disengagement can be linked to poor prior teaching and learning experiences. This is directly related to teacher competence, and specifically to teachers who lack the necessary content knowledge to teach these subjects effectively. The ‘elephant in the room’ is our current cohort of teachers, many who lack the necessary skills and knowledge, and the systems which have allowed this to occur.
McNaught, K. (2012). How long do we carry an ineffectual teacher? The Australian Educational Leader, 34(3), 50-52.