Project Maths is a major programme of reform in mathematics in second level schools, which is designed to encourage better understanding of mathematics, to reinforce its practical relevance to everyday life, and to ensure better continuity between primary and second level, and junior and senior cycle. It began in 24 project schools in September 2008 and was introduced in all schools in September 2010.
Project Maths provides for a professional development model under which change will be implemented in various areas of maths on a phased basis. The curriculum will be phased in over a number of years covering the following five strands of mathematics:
Phase 1: Strand 1 — statistics and probability; Strand 2 — geometry and trigonometry;
Phase 2: Strand 3 — number; Strand 4 — algebra;
Phase 3: functions.
Strands 1 and 2 began in all schools in September 2010 for first examination in 2012 at Leaving Certificate and 2013 at Junior Certificate. Strands 3 and 4 will begin in 2011, and strand 5 will start in 2012.
A comprehensive programme of professional development is being provided for teachers. Support will be provided on a rolling basis as each strand of the curriculum is implemented, and will continue until at least 2013.
Project Maths, which was introduced into 24 selected schools in September 2008, was examined for the first time in 2010. The initiative encompasses a new model of curriculum development in which the various strands of the syllabus will be changed on a phased basis. Changes in assessment are aligned with changes in the syllabus and aim to underpin and support classroom practice.
In 2011 as part of the phased implementation of this curricular reform the State Examinations Commission (SEC) provided examinations at Higher, Ordinary and Foundation Level in Project Maths for 1,984 candidates — 318 at Higher Level, 1,437 at Ordinary Level and 231 at Foundation Level. Candidates for the 2011 Leaving Certificate examination in the 24 initial schools for project Maths have experienced phases 1 and 2 of this project, involving four of the five syllabus strands.
318 candidates for Project Maths took the examination at Higher Level. This represents 16% of the total candidature for Project Maths. When compared to the results of students in all other schools, this group has effectively the same proportion of A-grades, a substantially higher proportion at A/B/C, and a much lower proportion at E/F/NG
1,437 candidates for Project Maths took the examination at Ordinary Level. This represents 72.4% of the total candidature for Project Maths. When compared to the results of students in all other schools, this group has a slightly higher proportion of A-grades, a notably higher proportion at A/B/C, and a significantly lower proportion at E/F/NG.
231 candidates for Project Maths took the examination at Foundation Level. This represents 11.6% of the total candidature for Project Maths. When compared to the results of students in all other schools, this group has a slightly higher proportion of A-grades, a higher proportion at A/B/C, and approximately the same proportion at E/F/NG.
In 2011, candidates in the 24 Project Schools sat some Project Maths elements at Junior Certificate level. In Project Schools a significantly higher proportion of candidates presented at Higher Level (52%) as opposed to the proportion in the cohort as a whole (45.6%).
A/B/C levels in Project Maths are at 83.5% as opposed to 79.7% in Mathematics. At Ordinary Level E/F/NG rates are at 4.5% in Project Maths as opposed to 7% in Mathematics generally. The percentages scoring A at Higher Level is lower in Project Maths (13%) as opposed to Mathematics generally (17.4%). These trends mirror the patterns seen at Leaving Certificate Level.