Mathematics in Primary Schools (MIPS): A Study of Pupil Progress and Teacher Effectiveness, for Mathematics, in Malta, during the Second Year of the Primary School

Lara Said


Engaging in school-effectiveness research in Malta is a relatively new activity. Initial research
has found that schools do make a difference for literacy in both Maltese and English (Mifsud,
Milton, Brooks and Hutchison, 2000). Further research, particularly in mathematics is clearly
needed as this curriculum context constitutes both a basic skill, and an area of study, that
can be related to future career prospects (Hutchison and Brooks, 1998). This research note
reports the beginning of a ground–breaking study, in the Maltese context, into pupil progress
in maths education and the role that teacher effectiveness may play in that progress.

Abstract: Value-added measures are one indicator of school effectiveness. This
research note poses the question of ‘How are pupil progress and teacher effectiveness
related?’ It asks this in the context of the Maltese education system by tracking pupil
progress in primary school mathematics, from year 1 to year 2, in relation to teacher
instructional style and underlying pedagogical orientation. To do so it outlines a three
level school effectiveness study. This will adopt a multi-stage sample involving
approximately 2,100 pupils and 99 teachers based in 40 schools of different types. The
study will employ the Mathematics In Primary Schools (MIPS) methodology as its working
framework, informed by the view that consistency, at the school level, involves an
alignment between effective instruction, the nature of the curriculum materials
themselves, grouping procedures and teacher behaviour.

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