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Can a cross-curricular project, using numeracy skills in a meaningful context, impact on the attainment and self-efficacy of pupils in mathematics?

Can a cross-curricular project, using numeracy skills in a meaningful context, impact on the attainment and self-efficacy of pupils in mathematics?
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This project focuses on the impact of cross-curricular learning on self-efficacy and attainment in mathematics. The inquiry took place in a Year 6 classroom and focused on seven learners.

The Welsh Assembly Government places much emphasis on the importance of developing mathematical and numeracy skills and this is central to their education policies, which focus heavily on applying numeracy skills. Boaler (2012) has demonstrated that links between cross-curricular teaching and learning can impact significantly on attainment. Furthermore, Bandura (1977) has shown that attainment can be heavily impacted upon by self-efficacy, which is defined as an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to implement behaviours necessary to produce specific performance attainments.

The intervention focused on pupils who displayed low levels of self-efficacy towards mathematics and who were underachieving in tests. The intervention was focused on a cross-curricular numeracy and music project. The children were placed into bands, where they created rap lyrics and music and then managed their band’s finances on a concert tour, which required various numeracy skills, such as using percentages, division, multiplication and bank accounts.

Throughout the intervention data was collected using both quantitative and qualitative methods. These were: entry and exit questionnaires; observations; semi-structured interviews; and statistical assessment data. These data forms were triangulated to allow for a thorough analysis.

Analysis suggested that the intervention had some positive impact on raising the self-efficacy of five pupils, although two continued to show negative or neutral self-efficacy beliefs. Additionally, it was difficult to conclude the true impact upon attainment due to the length of the project, day-to-day learning and the ‘tests’ that were used. Data did suggest that some relationship between self-efficacy and attainment existed and that this linked with cross-curricular learning.

The project has helped feed into whole school approaches and has had an impact on the wider community through a Professional Learning Community. Overall, I now have a deeper appreciation for research and have much to take forward in my future practice.

©Ruth Cornelius January 2017

Additional Info

  • Author: Ruth Cornelius
  • Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Project originally written in: English
  • Project Reference: 60010