Nuffield Secondary Mathematics 1990

Directors: Kath Hart (Nuffield Secondary Mathematics), and Peter Reynolds (Nuffield National Curriculum Mathematics)

From research to development

The Nuffield Secondary Mathematics project grew out of research showing the very wide range of performance in mathematics by young people in secondary schools. The course set out to provide a step-by-step ladder of achievement to promote success from any starting point.

One of the key ideas was to motivate learners by allowing them to experience success. The intention was to match tasks to the level of attainment of each pupil so that he or she could make confident progress. There were to be no conceptual gaps in the books.

The original team decided to produce a very large number of short books for each main strand of mathematics. There were topic books to help develop mathematical skills, and core books for applying mathematical knowledge and using thinking skills.

Outcomes

The complex and expensive publications package, produced in the early 1990s, failed in the market place when only a few of the books had been published. At this stage a salvage operation was mounted, and a new team was recruited to restructure the course as Nuffield National Curriculum Mathematics.

This course was not a success because its rationale was designed to fit a version of the National Curriculum which changed completely during the development phase. The restructuring of the course and the product also failed to sell. Maths teachers did not warm to the attempt by the publisher to produce maths texts with more visual appeal.