24th October 2014

A QUT-led teaching method designed to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students' learning of mathematics is seeing success in a diverse range of schools.

Feedback about the YuMi Deadly Maths method, which is now used in projects in more than 200 schools nationally and in Thailand, will be provided at a summit at QUT in Brisbane next week.

YuMi Deadly Maths was developed nearly five years ago by staff at QUT's Faculty of Education.

Professor of Mathematics Education and Director of the YuMi Deadly Centre in QUT's School of Curriculum, Tom Cooper, said it provided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with a more active and hands on approach to learning.

"It relates mathematics to their culture and interests, and builds mathematics in terms of big ideas," Professor Cooper said.

"It enhances engagement in maths and therefore improves attendance."

Professor Cooper said the program's success in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students' performance has been translated into mainstream primary and secondary schools, particularly low socio-economic schools.

He said YuMi Deadly Maths did not limit mathematic concepts taught but rather built upon them by involving communities and relating to local cultures.

Professor Cooper said the approach had been used with success in Special Education, secondary schools and attracted interest from non-state schools.

"We have widened the scope of the projects to include a focus on accelerating learning for underperforming students and on enriching and extending mathematics teaching to improve participation in Year 11 and 12 to gain university entrance," he said.

Professor Cooper said the summit would be an opportunity for schools to share their stories and provide feedback on research outcomes.

Education Queensland will also be represented at the summit with the keynote address from Selwyn Button, Assistant Director-General of Indigenous Education.

Mr Button said numeracy was a key area where a national Closing the Gap target had been set by the Council of Australian Governments by 2018.

"To ensure equitable numeracy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, there are three priorities: ensuring students are at school; ensuring that the community is on board; and capacity of teachers and leaders.

"It is the last of these priorities where YuMi Deadly Maths is pivotal."

He said mathematical competence was required to successfully participate in everyday 21st century life.

The YuMi Deadly Centre will hold its annual Sharing Summit on Monday and Tuesday 27-28 October at Kelvin Grove.

Schools to present their feedback at the summit include:-
Redcliffe State High, Worongary State, Annandale, Bundaberg Special School, Beenleigh State, Pine Rivers State High, Thailand schools, Noosa Pengari Steiner School, Victoria Park State, Marsden State, Caboolture Special School, Blackwater State, Dakabin State High, Kingston State School and Aspley State High School.

Media contacts:
Niki Widdowson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2999 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au.
Debra Nowland, QUT media officer (Tue/Wed/Thur), 07 3138 1150 or media@qut.edu.au

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