Celebrities are often involved in social activities as well as acting and participating in game shows. In fact it’s their number one activity outside their normal work. Carol Vorderman is tackling one of the biggest problems in primary education: maths skills. She’s joined forces with Pearson Primary to produce and market a new maths homework service.
Pearson Primary is the world’s leading learning company working in over 70 countries around the world. With an increasing digital offer, their portfolio includes Penguin, DK, the Financial Times and numerous other educational businesses including the Edexcel awarding organisation. Imprints including Longman and Prentice Hall combine 150 years of experience with online support for every learner.
Nearly a third (30%) of UK parents admit they don’t feel confident enough in their own maths skills to help their children with their primary school maths homework, according to a study released today.
The research coincides with the launch of a new primary school maths homework service, Maths Made Easy, by leading learning company Pearson and accompanying workbooks published by DK. Based on interviews with 2,005 parents of primary school age children across the UK, the results show that parents find Maths one of the hardest subjects for them to help their children to master, beaten only by French.
The results also showed that 65% of parents worry that if they do help with maths homework they will simply confuse their child thanks to new teaching methods. As a result children’s academic performance could be suffering, last year a study of 10,000 children by researchers at North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California, found that parental involvement was a more significant factor in a child’s academic performance than the qualities of the school itself. 
Despite most parents (58%) feeling that maths skills were essential for progression in today’s world, less than half (44%) knew exactly what maths their child should have mastered by their current school age.
The results also showed that:
- 46% of parents found it hard to get their kids interested in maths homework
- 53% of parents said they didn’t understand the teaching methods used in the classroom
- Whilst the majority of parents could answer a Year 4 maths question on fractions (61%), only 27% correctly answered a two-part Year 7 bracket calculation question.
- Only 5% of parents surveyed answered all ten Year 4 to 7 maths questions correctly, whilst only 9% got 9 out of 10 correct and 15% 8 out of 10 correct. A quarter (25%) of parents got 4 out of 10 answers correct or less.
Carol Vorderman said:
“Studies have shown that if parents help their children with homework they are more likely to succeed at school. It is therefore worrying that so many parents lack confidence in their own maths skills.
“It’s imperative that children are given the opportunity to learn maths in a way that is fun, accessible and engaging, both at home and in the classroom. Both Maths Made Easy and my online maths school, themathsfactor.com, combine traditional and new ways of learning maths to deliver improvements in maths ability.
“Handily, parents can log on to the Maths Made Easy service to see how their child is progressing and even try their hand at the same exercises as their child.”
The public are invited to put their own maths skills to the test by taking a special test online.
Test your skills
The ‘How good is your maths?’ test, which was issued to survey respondents, uses a range of maths questions taken from the Carol Vorderman Maths Made Easy series. All of the questions are relevant to the maths which is currently taught to years 4, 5, 6 and 7 at school.
To put your maths skills to the test and see how many primary school maths questions you can answer correctly visit theMaths Made Easy ‘How good is your maths?’ test.
Carol Vorderman is doing something wonderful for the UK society and culture. What are your thoughts about celebrities doing projects like this? Is it for publicity or because they are genuinely concerned? Does the motivation really matter to the end result? Let us know your point of view.