WA schools follow Asian maths path
Primed for results: Ellenbrook Primary School students Riley Fernie, Poppy Eisenhauer-Dowton and Jordan Roman with the books based on Singapore/Hong Kong curriculum. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

Some WA schools are adopting primary school textbooks based on the way maths is taught in Asian countries which top international tests.

Book publisher Scholastic says its newly released Prime Mathematics books incorporate the best practices of Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, the consistent top performers on international assessments.

Scholastic's head of education Christine Vale, who held workshops in Perth yesterday for 60 principals and teachers, said the books introduced topics at an earlier age and covered them in more depth than the Australian curriculum.

"What is taught in fractions in Year 3 in Singapore, some of it is not taught until our kids are in Year 6," Ms Vale said.

"It's not rote learning, though that is the perception. It's very much getting the kids to think and talk about the way they understand mathematics."

Ellenbrook Primary School principal Neil MacNeill said he would run a trial of the books with sample classes next semester and then compare their results with students doing standard lessons. Other schools plan to introduce the books next year.

Mr MacNeill said Ellenbrook was enrolling more students from immigrant families and it was embarrassing when parents could demonstrate their children's maths standard was higher than the Australian curriculum.

"What influenced us also was our belief that the Singapore maths standards can be taught by our teachers, and is probably no different to what was taught in WA schools 30 years ago," he said.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority communications director Robyn Ziino said that by Year 10 Australian students would have mostly covered the same content as they would in Singapore.

The West Australian

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