n Journal of Educational Studies - Going back in order to go forward - recovery of mathematical foundations for intermediate phase improvement

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 1680-7456



Local, regional and international research consistently points to a crisis in primary mathematics learning whereby grade 4 learners are already almost two grades behind grade level expectations. Research across local contexts points to a failure of progress for the majority of learners beyond concrete one-to-one counting methods, even well into the intermediate phase. Yet systemic teacher support largely ignores this learning gap and the fact that since mathematics is a highly hierarchical subject learner progress is constrained if earlier grade concepts are not established. This paper shares the empirical findings of a 5 year research and development project that focused on supporting grade 3 and 4 numeracy and mathematics teachers in developing foundational knowledge of learners (not achieved in earlier grades), through focusing active participation, connection of concepts and sense making, in order to support learner progress. The paper points to both successes and challenges of improving numeracy performance of learners across a wide range of schools.

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