Thursday 20 September 2018

One in five pupils taught by teachers without a maths degree

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

One-in-five Irish 14-year-olds is being taught maths by a teacher who is not qualified in the subject, according to a new report.

The 20pc of second year students in Ireland being taught maths by someone with a different specialism is higher than the international average of 13pc.

The figures are highlighted in a report that is based on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) from 2015.

This is one of the world's largest studies of educational achievement.

That TIMSS study, which was published in 2016, indicated that the performance of students in Ireland in maths and science was relatively high by international standards.

Follow-up

A follow-up report, by the Educational Research Centre (ERC), Drumcondra, Dublin, published today - 'Inside the post-primary classroom: Mathematics and science teaching in second year' - takes a deeper look at the data.

On the issue of qualifications, research by the University of Limerick, in 2010, found that 48pc of those teaching maths in post-primary schools were not qualified in the subject.

The results of this study led to an upskilling programme among the profession.

While the TIMSS/ERC figures are not directly comparable, they do suggest some improvement.

However, it does show that Ireland is still lagging behind even the international average.

Tuition

On the other hand, the ERC found that 30pc of Irish second-year pupils are taught maths and science by teachers with a Master's level qualification or higher.

This compares well to the international average, which stands at 25pc.

Irish pupils were also found to have had less tuition time in maths and science than their international counterparts.

However, Aidan Clerkin, one of the report's authors at the Educational Research Centre, said there did not appear to be a direct relationship between tuition time and student achievement.

Irish Independent

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