EMU Project helps schools improve numeracy standards
|School leaders who participated in the 2010 EMU Project with Dr Gervasoni (centre)|
|Alicia Sanderson, Dr Gervasoni and Sue Guilfoyle|
On Thursday 21 October and Friday 22 October, principals and staff from 15 schools in the Parramatta diocese attended the final day of six professional learning workshops led by leading academic, Dr Ann Gervasoni, as part of the Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU) Project.
The workshops, held at the Aengus Kavanagh Centre, Mt Druitt and at the Diocesan Assembly Centre, Blacktown were attended by principals and mathematics coordinators, as well as specialist numeracy teaching staff. At the conclusion of the final workshop, participants were presented with certificates of achievement.
The EMU Project is a research-based intervention program developed by senior lecturer in education at the Australian Catholic University, Dr Gervasoni. The program draws upon learning from Dr Gervasoni’s involvement in the Early Numeracy Research Project, a three year research initiative commissioned by the Victorian Department of Education to develop a comprehensive program for improving numeracy levels in schools.
Dr Gervasoni said the workshops covered a number of aspects of the EMU program such as professional learning, reflection on academic research, assessment tools and teaching resources.
‘The sessions have firstly focused on working with leaders and teachers to consider what it means to have a high quality environment for teaching and learning mathematics,’ said Dr Gervasoni. ‘From this, schools have designed an action plan that they have implemented over the year.’
Assessment and data analysis is also a key focus of the EMU program, which introduces a new assessment tool for schools to use, the Mathematical Assessment Interview (MAI). The MAI is a 30 minute one-on-one conversation between teacher and student that features a number of numeracy based activities. Data from these assessments can be used by teachers to pinpoint a student’s progress in Mathematics.
During the final workshop with diocesan staff, Dr Gervasoni said she was very impressed with how the school leaders had shared their knowledge of the tool with school staff.
‘To see the way that leaders and teachers have not only interviewed and assessed students, but how they have enabled the rest of the staff to learn about and use this tool, has been quite inspiring,’ said Dr Gervasoni.
Dr Gervasoni also recognised the four secondary schools in the diocese who are the first in Australia to participate in the EMU program.
‘We’re finding the strategies of the EMU program definitely have a Preschool to Year 10 application.’ said Dr Gervasoni. ‘It has been inspiring to see how the secondary schools have taken up the challenge and are being innovative in designing very different learning environments than what is typical in schools in order to improve student outcomes.’
Principal of Holy Family Primary, Granville Sue Guilfoyle, said that the professional learning sessions of the EMU program have had many benefits for her school.
‘The program has really allowed us to focus on developing teaching strategies to improve numeracy,’ said Sue. ‘Using the assessment tools, teachers are now able to identify exactly where the students are at in their learning journey, where they need to go, and, the teachers are equipped with the strategies to progress them.’
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