ESRI report shows importance of maths for children adjusting to secondary school

A new ESRI report has found that children who were better at maths at the age of 9 were more engaged at school - and that positive experience continues through to secondary education.

The findings are based on interviews conducted with young people when they were nine and 13 years of age, as well as interviews with their parents and questionnaires completed by their principals and teachers.

The research found that girls experience greater transition difficulties than boys. Transition difficulties are greater among those from more disadvantaged backgrounds and among young people with special educational needs.

The report, titled 'Off to a Good Start? Primary School Experiences and the Transition to Second-Level Education', also found that most young people settle well into the new school but around a fifth are anxious about making new friends and miss their primary school friends.

Author of the report, ESRI research professor Emer Smyth, believes that making maths more accessible could show real long term benefits.

"How children get on in primary school sets the tone for their later educational success. Primary education provides them with the literacy and numeracy skills they need to engage with learning at second-level.

"Children can disengage from school and their school subjects even at this early stage, making it difficult to reengage them later on.

"At second level, building positive student-teacher relationships is critical in supporting young people to feel more confident as learners and helping them to thrive in the new environment of second-level school."

KEYWORDS: ESRI, education


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