March 22, 2022

Maths development program adds up to a decade of success

Alcoa Champions of Maths Program 2020  Oakwood Primary School  Mandurah
Alcoa Champions of Maths Program 2020, Oakwood Primary School, Mandurah.

A decade-long maths enrichment program delivered by Scitech in the south-west of Western Australia has wrapped up after claiming outstanding results and forging a sustainable future.

The Alcoa Maths Enrichment Program – a partnership between Scitech and Alcoa – was responsible for marked improvements in teacher competencies and confidence, parental support, and student outcomes between 2012-2021.

The bespoke program was recognised in the 2019 State STEM Strategy as best practice, took out the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Community Partnership Award in 2020, led to similar programs being rolled out in the Perth metropolitan area, and attracted national and international interest.

Scitech Learning Futures Manager David Hosken said a focus on upskilling teachers, who in turn continue to upskill their colleagues, means that while the program has officially wrapped up, it will continue to deliver results for years to come. This includes through an alumni program providing ongoing professional development for teachers.

“This program has exceeded our expectations on how this approach to upskilling primary school teachers can have a lasting influence on maths teaching methods,” Mr Hosken said. “The success and impact of this program has now laid the foundations for our partnership to continue, and to permit further creation of impactful opportunities for both teachers and students.”

Alcoa Corporate Affairs Manager Suellen Jerrard said with an estimated 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations requiring STEM skills, the company was proud to have played an instrumental role in bolstering foundational maths skills in a meaningful and sustainable way.

In the decade that it operated, the Alcoa Maths Enrichment Program directly reached more than 10,000 teachers, students and parents across the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South West regions. This was achieved through a range of classroom and community maths activities and events along with the Alcoa Champion of Maths element, which focussed on teacher development.

The program reached beyond the confines of the classrooms with extensive digital engagement, such as blogs and online learning, providing intensive support to participating teachers.

The results of the program are impressive. Students engaged through the last two years of the Alcoa Champion of Maths Program were found to be an average six months ahead in their maths learning than their peers. In 2021, 100 per cent of participating teachers reported both an increase in their confidence in teaching maths and in their students’ engagement.

Mr Hosken said Scitech and Alcoa were excited to be continuing their collaboration and turning their attention to digital technologies. A new enrichment program was in the development phase with rollout planned from the second half of the year.