Innovative maths program adds up for St Rita’s girls Innovative maths program adds up for St Rita’s girls

St Rita’s is currently spearheading a program with the aim to get more girls involved in mathematics and numeracy. 

Program implementation comes after the College was announced as a Queensland Catholic Education Commission Research Partner School earlier this year.

It also follows a $30,000 boost from the Australian Government’s Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC), whose researchers assisted St Rita’s Head of Mathematics Faculty Mark Ellingham and Mathematics Teacher Christiaan Gscheidle to conceptualise and develop the project.

Mr Ellingham said the process involved students practicing the basic fundamental skills that underpin higher mathematical concepts to improve accuracy and speed in high pressure situations.

“All mathematics classes from Years 7-10 are using Education Perfect automaticity exercises, which require students to reflect upon their strengths, weaknesses and levels of confidence with a growth mindset,” he said.

“The exercises also address NAPLAN and PAT-Maths weaknesses, allowing teachers to identify both whole-class or individual areas of improvement.

“By routinely practicing the fundamental skills that are the foundations of more complex expertise, students will develop the confidence needed to experience success in mathematics.”

St Rita’s Year 10 student Charlotte said the program had helped boost her confidence in mathematics.

“The tests are extremely beneficial because it places you in a test-like situation where nerves and doubts can begin to influence your thinking,” she said.

“I’ve found since the beginning of the year, I feel more confident and calm when going into my actual exams.”

St Rita’s Assistant Principal Dr Natasha Mayne said the College had already witnessed significant improvements.

“We’ve seen enhanced student learning, increased retention and mastery of fundamental mathematics skills, as well as a greater understanding of new concepts,” Dr Mayne said.

“Most year levels have already improved and anecdotal evidence suggests confidence and self-efficacy is growing too.”

Mr Ellingham and Mr Gscheidle recently presented their work at the Australian Catholic University Leadership Centre, where it generated great interest among other schools, senior staff and University of Queensland researchers.