Chapter 5: Teacher questionnaire
- Teachers report that pupils often talk about what they are learning with their peers, and also that they get the opportunity to explain how they have a solved a problem in their own words: 60 per cent of primary teachers, over 90 per cent of secondary Mathematics teachers and over 70 per cent of secondary non-Mathematics teachers state pupils do this most days or most weeks.
- The vast majority of primary teachers and secondary Mathematics teachers are confident in delivering the numeracy Es and Os. Secondary non-Mathematics teachers reported lower levels of confidence, the lowest rate being 64 per cent reporting confidence in teaching 'chance and uncertainty'.
This questionnaire asked teachers about their experiences and opinions of teaching numeracy. This was distributed to all P4 class teachers in half of primary schools and all P7 teachers in the other half of primary schools. In secondary schools questionnaires were given to ten teachers: two S2 Mathematics teachers and two S2 teachers in each of four other broad curriculum groupings:
- Science and Technology
- Social Studies, Religious & Moral Education ( RME) and Health & Wellbeing
- Expressive Arts and Languages
- Support for Learning ( SfL)
There were three versions of the questionnaire (primary, secondary Mathematics and secondary non-Mathematics) though many of the questions were consistent across the three versions. Full results are available in the supplementary data tables.
5.1 Classroom activities and resources
Teachers were asked how often pupils in their classes spend time doing a range of activities. The activities which the highest percentages of teachers reported pupils undertook on most days were 'being taught with the whole class together', 'working quietly on their own' and 'talking about what they are learning in pairs or in groups'.
There continues to be a reported increase in how often pupils in primary classes spend time 'explaining in their own words how they solved a problem', with 60 per cent of teachers in 2015 reporting that pupils spend time undertaking this activity on most days, compared to 54 per cent in 2013 and only 44 per cent in 2011.
There were decreases in the proportion of teachers stating S2 pupils spend time 'finding out things by exploring or investigating' between 2013 and 2015. In 2013, 50 per cent of secondary Mathematics teachers reported that pupils spend time 'finding out things by exploring or investigating' on most days or most weeks but this decreased to 40 per cent in 2015. The equivalent figures for secondary non-Mathematics teachers are 72 per cent in 2013 and 67 per cent in 2015.
Primary and secondary Mathematics teachers were asked about the numeracy resources they make use of. The most common resources that were utilised daily were commercially produced materials ( e.g. textbooks/software packages), the experiences and outcomes, materials developed by the teachers themselves and interactive whiteboards. The proportion of secondary Mathematics teachers who use IT packages most weeks (or more often) increased from 39 per cent in 2013 to 55 per cent in 2015, and the use of 'materials produced by a teachers' group/association' rose from 24 per cent in 2013 to 35 per cent in 2015.
5.2 Teaching numeracy across the curriculum
Chart 5.1 shows the percentage of teachers reporting they were very confident or fairly confident in delivering the numeracy experiences and outcomes. High proportions of primary school teachers and secondary Mathematics teachers reported confidence, with over 95 per cent of teachers very or fairly confident in delivering the experiences and outcomes across all organisers in the numeracy curriculum. In relation to 'chance and uncertainty', the lowest proportion of teachers reported confidence in delivering this numeracy organiser in comparison to the others (86 per cent of primary teachers).
Chart 5.1: Percentage of teachers reporting they were very confident or fairly confident in delivering the numeracy experiences and outcomes, by organiser.
There were slightly lower levels of teachers reporting confidence in delivering all organisers among secondary non-Mathematics teachers, with the least confidence relating to teaching ideas of 'chance and uncertainty', where 64 per cent of teachers reported confidence. This group also showed a decline in the proportion that were confident teaching 'data and analysis' from 85 per cent in 2013 to 81 per cent in 2015. Although this remains above the 75 per cent reported in 2011.
There was variation in confidence levels within the secondary non-Mathematics sector, as higher levels of Support for Learning ( SfL) teachers reported confidence in delivering the experiences and outcomes across all numeracy organisers when compared to expressive arts and languages teachers. For example, 95 per cent of SfL teachers reported confidence in delivering the 'number and number processes' experiences and outcomes, compared to 62 per cent of expressive arts and languages teachers. Also, 78 per cent of SfL teachers reported confidence in delivering the 'chance and uncertainty' experiences and outcomes, compared to 47 per cent of expressive arts and languages teachers.
In 2015, there is little to no change in the levels of secondary Mathematics teachers reported confidence in teaching all numeracy organisers compared to the already high figures reported by the 2013 survey.
For secondary non-Mathematics teachers the increases shown between 2011 and 2013 remain but have not been repeated. Confidence in teaching all numeracy organisers is higher in 2015 than in 2011 but there is little change between 2013 and 2015.
For primary teachers, there was no change to the high levels of confidence teachers have in delivering all numeracy organisers. Nearly all primary teachers report that they are confident teaching all organisers with the exception of 'chance and uncertainty' where consistently around 85 per cent are fairly or very confident.
5.3 Professional development
Teachers were asked how often they had taken part in various forms of Career-Long Professional Learning ( CLPL) in the last twelve months and, if they had, how useful they had found it. The CLPL related to numeracy experiences and outcomes only. This explains the reported lower participation rates for secondary non-Mathematics teachers when compared to primary teachers and secondary Mathematics teachers.
Amongst primary school teachers (Chart 5.2) and secondary Mathematics teachers the most frequently used forms of CLPL were:
- reading and discussing the numeracy experiences and outcomes ( Es & Os) with colleagues (88 per cent of primary teachers and 85 per cent of secondary Mathematics teachers had taken part in this CLPL activity)
- sharing standards and moderation (79 per cent and 85 per cent had taken part respectively)
- professional enquiry through reading/personal study (80 per cent and 81 per cent had taken part respectively)
Chart 5.2: Proportion of primary teachers participating in CLPL activity in numeracy in last twelve months
See data tables for full descriptions and for responses for secondary school teachers.
The CLPL activity with the highest ratings for level of impact was 'sharing standards and moderation'. Of those who took part in this activity 68 per cent of primary teachers, 61 per cent of secondary Mathematics teachers and 47 per cent of secondary non-Mathematics teachers rated the impact as high or very high. Other highly rated activities included 'reading and discussing numeracy experiences and outcomes with colleagues' and 'reading and discussing other guidance/exemplifications with colleagues'.