The University of South Australian and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) have launched an important new program to foster excellence in mathematics among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students Excellence and Equity in Mathematics (XE).
Under the national initiative, the Australian Maths and Science Partnership Programme, UniSA secured $783,000 to develop the project.
Federal Minister for Education and Training, Christopher Pyne officially launched the project at Rostrevor College.
Rostrevor College has approximately 50 Indigenous students from Year 2 to Year 12, with both day and boarding students from a wide variety of areas including Darwin, Alice Springs, Daly River, Port Augusta, Ceduna and Murray Bridge.
XE Project leader at UniSA, Professor Peter Buckskin says excellence in mathematics is a key driver to career progression and success.
“This project aims to redress Indigenous under-representation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) based study and careers,” Prof Buckskin says.
“Working with schools, teachers and students, we’ll be developing key strategies to improve teacher capability in maths teaching and strategies to build Indigenous student achievement in school and through to university.”
The XE project will encompass a review of current professional practice in mathematics teaching; of the resources available to support maths education, and of university outreach programs in science and maths.
It will also see UniSA collaborate with the AAMT in 2015 and 2016 to design a series of school learning and teaching pilot projects and university case studies, designed to identify the best strategies for Indigenous student success and participation.
Results of all the pilot projects and research data will be published to a national web portal.
Will Morony, Chief Executive, AAMT says the ‘Dimensions’ portal will be invaluable in sharing findings and effective digital learning resources with an Indigenous focus.
“The AAMT is keen to hear from government and non-government secondary schools – in metropolitan or regional locations who are having success in mathematics and/or wish to take their thinking and teaching approaches further,” Mr Morony says.
Professor Peter Buckskin says that school and university staff can learn from their colleagues.
“We want to share what we are learning widely and efficiently so that the teaching skills and knowledge can be translated into improved practice as quickly as possible,” Prof Buckskin says.
“The more we can improve our understanding of how to successfully attract and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students into the world of maths and sciences, the greater the benefits.”
More information about the Excellence & Equity in Maths [xe] project can be found at www.xe.edu.au .
Excellence and Equity in Maths [xe.edu.au] is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program.
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