A “new normal”: Teachers’ experiences of the day-to-day impact of incentivising the study of advanced mathematics

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Abstract

This article examines teachers’ perspectives of the impact in the classroom of a novel approach to boosting participation in upper secondary (Senior Cycle) mathematics in Ireland at the most advanced level (Higher Level). This approach, termed the Bonus Points Initiative (BPI), is an incentive which has coincided with a gradual increase from 16% to 31.5% in the proportion of student cohorts opting to complete Higher Level Senior Cycle mathematics studies in Ireland between 2012 and 2018. Qualitative and quantitative data for this study was gathered through questionnaire responses from 266 teachers of Higher Level Senior Cycle mathematics across Ireland. Data analysis led to the identification of a number of emerging challenges for teachers, mainly due to widening ranges of attainment in their classrooms. These challenges include addition to workloads, worries that higher attaining students are being neglected, pressure to cover the syllabus, and concerns with regards to pace of instruction.

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Treacy, P., Prendergast, M., & O’Meara, N. (2020). A “new normal”: Teachers’ experiences of the day-to-day impact of incentivising the study of advanced mathematics. Research in Mathematics Education, 22(3), 233–248. https://doi.org/10.1080/14794802.2019.1668832

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