Proportional reasoning is the ability to understand situations of comparison. In the real world, this is a major aspect of many day-to-day tasks. For example, estimating the better buy; interpreting scale and maps; require proportional reasoning. Proportional reasoning is a major aspect of numeracy yet it is a hidden theme in school curriculum and often limited to the study of rate and ratio in mathematics only. Audits of national and international tests reveal a prevalence of items requiring proportional reasoning. Further, proportional reasoning is an essential, foundational skill for achieving in post-compulsory schooling. Research has repeatedly highlighted students’ (and sometimes teachers’) difficulties with proportion and proportion-related tasks. Research has also shown that explicit teaching accelerates the development of students’ proportional reasoning skills. Targeted teacher professional development has lead to enhanced teacher knowledge and ability to identify instructional opportunities for proportional reasoning across the curriculum.
In partnership with school clusters, university personnel and teachers will work together to address these important issues. The university researchers have a strong background in educational research, curriculum design, teacher professional development, and all have extensive teaching experience in primary and secondary classrooms across the key learning areas. This project proposal will be submitted to the Australian Research Council (ARC) for funding consideration through their Linkage scheme in November 2009, which requires cash and in-kind contributions from participating schools. The ARC is a Commonwealth body that funds innovative research projects on a competitive basis.
Benefits for students
Benefits for teachers
Benefits for schools