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A window on the world of O.R.?
The “invisibility cloak” of science fiction is now fact, albeit with limitations. O.R. could claim to have had the power of invisibility for years, though not by desire; what we want is the opposite - a high-visibility jacket! Indeed, part of the mission of the OR Society is to help make our presence more visible. But perception involves both the observed and the observer. And all of us have open and hidden parts.

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The Education & Research Committee
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Ruth Kaufman, Inside OR February 2013

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Posted on 26 July 2012


Mathematics - Made to Measure

According to a recent survey undertaken by Ofsted, Maths teaching must improve and more must be done to help both weaker and stronger pupils in maths.

The good news is, the Ofsted report, Mathematics - Made to Measure has highlighted a dramatic increase in the take-up of the subject and Further Maths at A-level, and it indicates that the youngest children are now doing better.  The bad news is that if you are below average at 7, unless you go to one of the top 10% of schools, you stand a very good chance of being below average at 16.

The report also found that GCSE and A-level results continue to improve thanks to the sustained efforts of teachers and students. Between January 2008 and July 2011, inspectors visited 160 primary and 160 secondary schools and observed more than 470 primary and 1,200 secondary mathematics lessons. They judged that more than half the schools were outstanding or good in maths.

However, there remained three key areas where maths teaching at English primary and secondary schools must be improved. The survey found not enough is being done to help those pupils who fall behind catch up. The 10% who do not reach the expected standard at age seven doubles to 20% by age 11, and nearly doubles again by 16.

Secondly, the inspectors found pupils in lower ability sets and younger pupils received the weakest teaching. Mathematics teaching could vary considerably across a given age group, even within the same school.

Finally, many of the brightest pupils do not fulfil their potential when they get to secondary school and figures show that 37,000 of the highest attaining primary school pupils went on to achieve no better than a grade C at GCSE in maths during 2011.