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Specific difficulties that may affect a pupil's attainment in Maths
Often the term Dyscalculia is used to describe a pupil experiencing difficulty with maths. Dyscalculia is commonly recognised as 'A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.' DfES 2001. Research in this area is ongoing and the definition is not fixed.
It's important to stress that other specific difficulties can impact on a pupil's maths attainment.
- Pupils with dyslexic type difficulties may experience problems accessing maths due to weaknesses in their reading ability, as well as retaining facts such as times tables for example.
- Pupils with dyspraxic type difficulties may experience issues with setting out their work and manipulating mathematical instruments.
- Pupils requiring speech and language support may find maths challenging due to the precise mathematical language used as well as comprehending mathematical explanations given verbally.
- Some pupils experience maths anxiety which can mean that retaining information is not efficient.
- Other factors to consider are: a slow processing speed, a weaker working memory, some visual processing issues as well as issues around attendance, past as well as present.
As a Specialist Outreach Service we encourage our schools to identify strengths, gaps and misconceptions through mathematical assessment, but also consider these other factors that can impact on a pupil's progress.
As well as intervention to address gaps and misconceptions a pupil has in maths, many needs can be met by making reasonable adjustments to enable them to overcome their barriers to learning in the classroom.