Rethink Needed

10 Good reasons for postponing roll out of Project maths in September 2010.


(i) The Report of Engineers Ireland states “There are aspects of Project Maths which appear ill-conceived and poorly thought out, and has led to concerns that Project maths is diluting or dumbing down Mathematics”

(ii) There are no text books no sample papers no marking schemes and the syllabus is not finalised.This has been confirmed by former education minister Batt O’Keeffe in a reply to a parlimentary question from labour’s Rory Quinn .

(iii) The syllabus (still not finalised) as now proposed will not prepare students for maths in third level.The former minister states that it is a draft sylluabus and they hope to get the syllabus completed when they have examined the results of the students in the project schools.

(iv) The proposed methods for teaching Project Maths have been abandoned in other countries (Finland which is one of the top 10 countries in Maths league tables).

The Reasons for abandoning project maths in Finland as stated in a report by Olli Martio University of Helsinki are as follows

(a) “Problem solving and putting emphasis on calculators have taken time from explaining the basic principles and ideas in Mathematics”

(b”Problem solving “has been overstressed since it has not been able to respond to the needs of the modern society.

Several Scottish medical schools have abandoned project based learning.

(v)The removal of vectors /integration,matrices/linear transformations/parametric equations of the line and circle from the Syllabus (all topics essential for students going on to study Science/Engineering/Architecture at 3rd level) is a retrograde step.

(vi)The removal of choice of questions (students must answer all questions) is also a retrograde step.

 This does not happen in any other leaving cert subject or in any UK maths exam.

(vii)The inclusion of compulsory Euclidian Geometry at leaving cert Higher level for the first time ever. Euclidian geometry is not examined in any first year 3rd level exam.  This will send students in droves to ordinary level. It was also the least attempted question on the Ordinary Level Leaving cert maths .There is no valid reason to include so much geometry at leaving cert level.

(viii)The inclusion of four compulsory questions (135 marks out of 300 =45%) on Statistics and Probability on the leaving cert ordinary is totally unjustified! In the regular leaving cert at most 33% of the marks are for these topics and students have a choice!   

(ix)Students who take project maths will be at a serious disadvantage at 3rd level when competing with students from UK and Northern Ireland.    

(x) Project maths leaving cert results may not be accepted by UK universities.

Students and teachers can add their comments with complete confidence that their names or their schools will not be identified without their permission.

5 Responses to Rethink Needed

  • Patrick Burke says:

    I’m glad to see that somebody is taking a stance on this. I hope you get what you want. I actually laughed when I looked a the new higher paper. Something must be done.

  • Kenny C. Yu says:

    I personally think that the Project Maths is an obvious dumb down.
    So today I printed out Project Maths and Mathematics paper 2 from SEC dot ie, sat down, did the Maths papers and find Project Maths, ridiculous.
    Even having a B1 in Mathematics and an A1 in Applied Mathematics,
    I still find the Maths from 1st year Theoretical Physics quite difficult.
    No doubt it would increase failing rate in Science/Engineering or mathematical related subjects if Project Maths was to continues.

    P.S. Please don’t just try making the Maths paper easier so that you could say the Maths failing rates in Ireland has improved.

    Kenny C.
    2nd year Physics & Mathematics student @ NUI Maynooth

  • Mary says:

    I have taught maths for 30 years and now have decided to opt for teaching pass maths for the remainder of my teaching career. I really couldn’t put myself through the stress and uncertainty I experienced last year while preparing my poor unfortunate students for project maths paper 2. The frustration I felt during the past 2 years has left me totally disillusioned . The promotors of project maths treated students and teachers with complete distain. They didn’t want to listen to any constructive criticism from people who have had years of experience . It was as if we really didn’t know what we were talking about.

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