Following the decrease in the mathematics 2014 matric results, education experts have highlighted the lack of basic mathematics skills meant to be learned in lower grades as a factor in this outcome.

In 2014, the mathematics pass rate declined to 53.5% from 59.1% in 2013. However, most alarming, only 35.1% of learners scored over 40% in mathematics.

International studies indicate that the core problem in poor mathematics results in higher grades is inadequate development of mathematics skills in the primary school. l These findings are also supported by the Annual National Assessment (ANA) results. In 2013’s ANA results, only 39% of grade six learners and 2% of grade nine learners scored more than 50% in mathematics.

According to Micheal Goodman, Group Content Manager at educational publisher Via Afrika, the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) efforts to rectify the situation in foundation phase mathematics are starting to bear fruit.

Via Afrika is a leading developer of quality educational textbooks and related material for South Africa. With close to 70 years of experience, the company develops content that meet the needs of learners from early childhood development to Grade 12.

According to Goodman, Via Afrika has partnered with a US tablet-based learning solution Tabtor, to redefine education through personalised learning. The aim is to offer a solution that can address the maths issue.

Tabtor Maths is an interactive personalised maths tablet-based platform that combines e-learning with the support of a tutor or teacher to assist learners in completing maths problems.

“Via Afrika Tabtor Maths allows educators who are empowered by technology to provide the focused and individualised math’s education learners who are missing the basic maths foundations needed to succeed in the higher grades. In traditional classrooms educators are forced to move forward with the curriculum even if they know that some of their learners are missing the basic maths skills needed to master the new material. However, with Via Afrika Tabtor maths, learners – under the supervision of educators – are able to go back and reinforce missing skills without holding back the rest of the class,” says Goodman.

Via Afrika is already in discussions with schools across the country to integrate Via Afrika Tabtor Maths into their teaching programmes, thereby allowing hundreds of thousands of learners to benefit.

“We’ve already implemented Via Afrika Tabtor Maths in three schools in rural Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the Free State where our Via Afrika Digital Education Centres are located. Teachers in these schools have reported that learners are showing immense enthusiasm for maths, which is great. But most importantly we’re seeing amazing results. In one case there was an increase of more than 30% in the average maths mark for an entire class.”

This article was originally published on The South


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