April 13, 2021

Alcoa + Scitech = Improved Math Performance

ScitechIn Western Australia (WA), the award-winning Alcoa Maths Enrichment Program is not only improving students’ achievements in mathematics, it is also expanding their career prospects.

Delivered since 2012 in partnership with Scitech, which is WA’s leading STEM engagement organization, the program aims to use the three-way learning relationship between teachers, students and parents to make the transition from basic numeracy to more complicated concepts easier.

Teachers build capability through in-class coaching, facilitated observation and group workshops. A more recent program element—the Alcoa Champions of Maths—provides intense upskilling of a smaller number of teachers who then share their knowledge with colleagues. Parents are schooled on the importance of math, what their children are doing and ways to extend their children’s learning at home.

“I learnt a lot of stuff, especially new ways of seeing maths,” said Chloe, a year six student. “The lessons were very interesting – some were fun, and some were challenging. It was good working in groups, because if you had trouble understanding, they can explain it in a different way. Overall, it was an amazing program.”

In December 2020, the program earned the Western Australian Resources Industry Community Partnership Award from the state’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

“There are strong links between attitudes toward math and performance,” said Kalien Selby, Scitech CEO. “It is critical that we provide a positive and inspiring environment for learning math. Our partnership with Alcoa does this through contemporary and effective teaching methods that embrace students, teachers and parents alike, capturing all areas of influence in a child’s life. This holistic approach ensures longer-lasting impact that effects real change.”

By the end of 2020, the partnership had directly reached approximately 70 schools, 2,400 teachers, 1,700 parents and 17,400 primary students in the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South West areas where we operate. The program’s digital platforms had reached an additional 78,000 teachers globally. Of the participating teachers, 96 percent reported improved confidence in teaching math, and 90 percent reported improved student engagement.