Building on the rich tradition of ‘teacher as researcher’ in mathematics education, I describe a study undertaken whilst working as a mathematics specialist in an Australian primary school. The focus of the study was on examining whether explicitly teaching students test-taking strategies (‘test-wiseness’) improved their performance on a standardised numeracy assessment; specifically a practice version of the Year 3 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). The study was unusual for teacher-research in that it adopted an experimental design. Thirty-eight Year 2 students (7 and 8 year olds) were randomly allocated to either an intervention condition (n=19) focused on developing test wiseness, or a ‘business as usual’ control condition (n=19). It was found that exposure to test-taking strategies improved student numeracy performance, with the intervention group significantly out-performing the control group. Implications of the findings are discussed, with a particular focus on what they mean in an environment where schools are increasingly held to account through the use of ‘value-add’ metrics.

Author Biography

Having completed his PhD in 2017, James is interested in a wide range of research topics within primary mathematics education including: - The role of challenging tasks, games and children’s literature as pedagogical approaches to support mathematics instruction, and how these tools are actually utilised in classrooms. - Teacher and student emotional responses in the primary mathematics classroom, and how these responses are related to particular pedagogical approaches. - Better understanding the relationship between classroom practice and academic research. - The learning and teaching of mental computation and estimation, particularly in the early years of schooling. In addition, James writes regularly for a range of teacher practitioner journals and is currently editor of the Mathematics Association of Victoria primary teaching journal, Prime Number. James continues to spend some of his week team-teaching in a primary classroom, using this opportunity both as a space to develop and test teaching ideas and to stimulate thinking about his research.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.