Maths Mastery

Maths mastery is a style of maths teaching inspired by the approach to taken in in high performing education systems internationally, particularly those of south-east and east Asian countries. It enables pupils to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts which they can then apply, with confidence, speed, and accuracy, in different situations.

The mastery approach to maths involves pupils spending far longer on fewer key topics, whilst working at greater depth. They are given time to think deeply about the maths and to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts. This slower pace leads to greater progress because it ensures that pupils are secure in their understanding before moving on. A large proportion of time is spent on number sense and place value, in order to build competency and to ensure that pupils become increasingly fluent.

10ticks has long adopted this approach of a spiral curriculum. We have developed a wide range of resources that allows students to revisit the same topics using a huge variety of approaches. Have a look at our maths worksheet collection.

Maths mastery encourages pupils to visualise mathematical concepts, with the aid of objects and pictures alongside numbers and symbols. This is a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach, whereby pupils use the concrete (objects) and the pictorial (pictures), before moving on to the abstract (numbers and signs). It ensures that pupils fully understand what they are doing, rather than learning by rote.

Mathematical problem solving plays a central role in the mastery approach. This builds the confidence, resilience and skills required by pupils in order to tackle new problems, as well as giving them a deeper learning experience. Equally important are mathematical language and reasoning skills. Maths mastery encourages pupils to increase their depth of understanding by using the correct mathematical language in order to justify or explain their mathematical reasoning.

Maths mastery adopts a whole class approach. The whole class works together on the same topic. There is still plenty of opportunity for differentiation, through greater depth of understanding and proficiency, rather than acceleration onto new content, for high-attaining pupils.

The Singapore approach to maths mastery focuses on specific number strategies: building number sense through part‐whole thinking, understanding place value, and breaking down numbers into those that are easier to work with. For worded problems, it relies on model drawing, using bar models to visually represent the problem, enabling pupils to visualise the problem in order to understand the meaning, and therefore how to solve it.

Have a look at the samples of mastery worksheets we have added to our 10ticks collection to help you deliver maths mastery in your school.

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