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SCU maths program earns top marks in US


2 December 2005
A United States elementary school teacher has been instrumental in her school winning a national award in the US for excellence in education after implementing the Mathematics Recovery Program developed at Southern Cross University.

Ms Pam Tabor, who is a PhD candidate at SCU, implemented the Mathematics Recovery program to reform maths teaching at the Roye-Williams Elementary School in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Following the success of the program the school has been named as one of 30 schools throughout the US to receive the Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Award, which recognises educational excellence and best practices and programs.

The Mathematics Recovery program was developed by Associate Professor Bob Wright at Southern Cross University, via an Australian Research Council Grant, and in collaboration with schools in northern NSW.

The program is now in use throughout Australia, in 150 schools in the United States and in the United Kingdom. It has also received recognition in a recent US national report on successful mathematics intervention programs.

Ms Tabor said Mathematics Recovery was the most significant professional
development program for teachers that she had encountered.

"It has been the driving force behind the educational reform initiatives that have transformed our elementary mathematics program," Ms Tabor said.

"It has revolutionised the way we do mathematics at Roye-Williams Elementary School.

"My high regard for the program and its developer, Associate Professor Bob Wright, led me to pursue a PhD research degree through Southern Cross University even though I am surrounded by world-class universities in the United States."

Associate Professor Wright said the program had been tailored to the needs of the NSW Department of Education and Training under the name 'Count Me In Too'.

"Virtually every government primary school in New South Wales is using Count Me In Too, an offshoot of Mathematics Recovery, tailored to the needs of Australian schools. Count Me In Too is also widely used in non-government schools, in other Australian states and was adopted nationally in New Zealand."

He said the program provided teachers with a detailed framework for assessing and teaching number across the first four or five years of school. It includes an extensive number of specific instructional tasks pitched at children's current levels of knowledge, and that enable advancement of children's knowledge.

"It provides a sequenced approach to instruction that enables teachers to take an ongoing, connected approach to their teaching of mathematics. It also includes a detailed program of intensive, one-to-one instruction for low-attaining students," Professor Wright said.

"It is very rewarding to see this program being implemented so widely in schools in Australia and overseas, and to see it having such a positive impact on children's learning."

Media contact: Brigid Veale 66593006 or m. 0439 680 748.