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My Maths - why do teachers use a program that's so often wrong?

(27 Posts)
Badbadbunny Sat 11-Mar-17 19:33:19

Why is "My Maths" so popular when it's so hard to use and so often wrong? Surely there are other more reliable alternatives? Am I being unreasonable in thinking this is just lazy teaching? The teacher never actually sets any homework of his own nor ever marks any himself - it's literally ALL "my maths" for the homeworks.

My son (year 10) has been plagued with My Maths homeworks for 3 years now. The teacher wants scores of 100% and tells the class to keep re-doing it until that is achieved. Trouble is that if you get just one part of a question wrong, you have to do an entire section again with different questions, not just the type of question you got wrong. That means a 30 minute homework can take a couple of hours and causes a lot of wasted time and stress having to do all the questions you can do over and over again not just the ones you can't.

But, more annoyingly, is the number of questions where the answer is wrong which also triggers having to do the whole section again. Today is a case in point. Son is still on with the damn thing! I first thought that he was making mistakes, but on the 3rd time, I went through it with him before he committed the answers. One question, it asked for the answer to 1 dp - son came up with 7.543 so put down 7.5 as the answer - the system marked it wrong and gave 7.6 as the "right" answer. Result is that son now has to do the whole section again through no fault of his own.

Just wondering if this is now the "norm" for Maths teaching for GCSE as it does seem to be a very lazy way giving an easy life for the teacher. Occasion homework via this system is fair enough, but surely the teacher should actually be looking at the pupils' exercise books occasionally? He's not marked my son's book at all this year so all he knows is whatever reports are fed back via my maths. My son says that he bases his termly report grades on how many attempts it takes each pupil to get the magic 100% in the sections.

Trifleorbust Sat 11-Mar-17 19:39:09

It is not 'lazy' teaching at all. It is reflective of the workload involved with teaching a core GCSE subject in a mainstream school. It is also reflective of the likelihood of students engaging with homework on paper versus on their phones - MyMaths (as I understand it) can be done anytime, any place. I understand your frustrations with it, though.

Iamastonished Sat 11-Mar-17 19:42:20

It is also reflective of the lack of funding in schools these days.

DD used to use MyMaths, but I wasn't aware that there were incorrect answers.

ThatsNumberWanggg Sat 11-Mar-17 19:49:38

I was moaning about My Maths this week. It's so fucking un-user friendly. I'm sure the person who designed it has never actually sat down with a child and tried to use it. What I find the most annoying is that you can't do half of it and then do half another day. If you don't checkout your scores then it wipes all your progress. I absolutely hate it.

portico Sat 11-Mar-17 20:14:43

I hate My Maths, too. Ds1 uses 3c, and Ds2 uses 1c. OUP emailed me the answers, quite a lot were wrong in both books - also proven by maths teacher. I think lazy maths teachers push the online my maths tests, for homework, as they are automarked.

Children do any homework they need to on My Maths and I make sure they do workings in writing. I think they try not because its online.

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 11-Mar-17 20:17:20

My children's primary school used to set MyMaths homework once a week. I think it has its uses but also its limitations.

If a child made an error in one step, they had to re-do the whole question (given a new set of values) without being told where they had gone wrong.

I can't quite imagine how it would be used beyond KS3. DS2 is in Y10, and part of what he is practising when presented with a problem is working out which skills and methods to use from his mathematical 'toolbox' in order to arrive at a solution.

LooseAtTheSeams Sat 11-Mar-17 21:10:04

DS1's teacher sets very little homework but insists the way to success is an hour of MyMaths everyday. DS1 hates it and won't use it. Teacher won't set more homework because they 'won't understand' something - I pointed out if they don't understand he can explain it to them. This is set one. Teacher for previous two years never mentioned MyMaths! And she set and marked homework.

woodlands01 Sat 11-Mar-17 23:34:37

Maths teacher here. I am supposed to set 2 homework's a week for all my classes. I can not mark them all. I do a combination of written homework, learning homework and mymaths homework. I also use self marking, peer marking and mymaths marking. Previous poster who said that mymaths should not be used without writing anything down is correct - then if you get one answer wrong it is not an onerous task to do it again. I also disagree with teacher saying students have to get 100%, I want to know which of my students are struggling with the topic - I might ask them to try a second time if they get less than a certain mark but no more than that. There are other websites available but I most say mymaths is (in my opinion as a parent and a teacher) pretty good - not perfect but constantly evolving to correct issues and keep upto date with curriculum. Our parents association fund raise and pay for the mymaths licence each year as most parents like it.

GHGN Sun 12-Mar-17 07:47:52

One of the first thing I did as a Head of Maths was to cancel the stupid thing. Saved around £500 a year, which then was used for photocopying. Students can cheat easily by opening a lot of tabs at the same time. I don't know if they have fixed the issue since then.
Mymaths homework only requires answers, which totally goes against the requirement of the new GCSE and later on A Level Maths. If I need to mark a homework that only shows answers, I can save mysefl all the hassle by getting pupils to peer mark it themselves.

Danglingmod Sun 12-Mar-17 07:59:42

And it's also perfectly possible to just get your friends to do it for you or give you the answers - see it all the time at school. Of course, that can happen with written maths, too, but less likely if you're asked to show workings.

MsAwesomeDragon Sun 12-Mar-17 08:12:16

We have a mymaths licence at my school. We only ever use it as a revision tool or for setting work for pupils who are going to be absent for a few weeks so they can look at the lessons and not need to catch up quite so much. So each term as we head for a test i put up all the exercises related to the topics we've covered and they choose which ones they do to help with their revision.

Regular homework (twice a week for each class) is worksheets and written in their exercise books, usually marked by me but sometimes peer or self assessed in lessons where we discuss methods.

irvineoneohone Sun 12-Mar-17 08:28:22

My ds' school use other programme, but encounters same sort of problem. To achieve 100 % and finish the skill, he has to answer 10 question correct in a row.
I find it actually good for my ds, who normally do the calculation in his head and sometimes makes silly mistakes.
He uses pen and paper to do the work and think carefully/check his answer before he presses enter!

Rounding was a problem with my ds on mangahigh, because it wasn't clear where(what digit)to round on certain questions, but I wasn't sure if he wasn't reading question properly, or programme was wrong.

Badbadbunny Sun 12-Mar-17 08:31:36

Previous poster who said that mymaths should not be used without writing anything down is correct - then if you get one answer wrong it is not an onerous task to do it again.

The questions are different when you have to do it again so writing down the answers for earlier attempts doesn't mean you don't have to do the whole lot again.

irvineoneohone Sun 12-Mar-17 08:42:40

Same for my ds' school's programme. (Mathletcs) Different question.

But if it's wrong due to programme, just complain to teacher. If it's wrong because dc made careless mistake, I think it's tough. Do it again.

JustRichmal Sun 12-Mar-17 09:38:23

How does Mymaths compare with Hegartymaths? I know Hegrtymaths has won awards and is free.

Dd used to use Khan Academy at home, even though it follows an American rather than English curriculum. She also used Mathletics as this is what her school had paid for. To use a comparison which has been used before, it was like trying to decide whether to get a telephone or Morse code device for your home.

irvineoneohone Sun 12-Mar-17 10:09:09

Richmal, I don't get what you mean!
Is using Mathletics choosing Morse code over phone?

I don't think it's that bad, enthusiastic children learn at home anyway. Spend minimal time on homework and do whatever they want afterwards. Those who need a push would do it if it was a homework.

JustRichmal Sun 12-Mar-17 10:20:44

rvineoneohone, yes; Khan Academy was so much better IMO. It was about 5 years ago, so Mathletics could have changed, but it was monotonous and tedious by comparison.

Dd did GCSE before Hegartymaths was really up and running, so I would like to know why schools are using paid for learning sites rather than the free ones?

Verbena37 Sun 12-Mar-17 10:25:24

Mymaths did my head in!
Dd once made a typo which made it look as though she thought 5x4=200...... the teacher thought she didn't understand how to multiply!

Our primary (my two are now both secondary) has just introduced Maths Whizz, which the kids all seem to love and choose to do for fun.
Not sure if it's he same sort of thing.

If I were a maths teacher, every now and again for practice is ok, but I'd want to make sure they had a good grounding in the basics and could show their working out.....vital for gcse.

Badbadbunny Sun 12-Mar-17 11:30:31

If I were a maths teacher, every now and again for practice is ok, but I'd want to make sure they had a good grounding in the basics and could show their working out.....vital for gcse.

I agree, trouble is that my DS's maths teacher has never marked my son's book at all and we're half way through the year. He won't have a clue whether my son is doing the workings correctly. He's relying 100% on my maths for homework setting and then just using the mymaths marking for reports etc. Never had a single worksheet handed out nor anything from text books etc. To rely 100% on an online program that is sometimes wrong seems completely out of order.

Verbena37 Sun 12-Mar-17 11:37:10

Yes badbunny I totally agree.
Not to have their books marked at all is terrible.
Surely they should be having a test and books in to be marked at least after each cycle?
Blimey, just reread and he is in year 10.....I previously thought he was 10!
That's even worse!!
Have they just done mock mocks? If yes, how did he do?
Do you know where he is at for his predicted gcse maths level?
Surely they've had parent evening before now?

Verbena37 Sun 12-Mar-17 11:39:33

Have just re read your post again.....
I think you definitely need to speak to his maths teacher and head of maths (hopefully they're not the same person!).

What set is he in for maths?

Does he have a workbook where you can see what he hasn't been doing in class?

noblegiraffe Sun 12-Mar-17 11:53:00

so I would like to know why schools are using paid for learning sites rather than the free ones?

Hegartymaths (the old free system) is nothing like mymaths, you don't type in scores, teachers don't get feedback on how you've done.

The new hegartymaths system does record scores and feedback to teachers but it isn't free.

Mymaths is popular because it was the first system of its kind and so schools have been buying it for years and teachers are familiar with it. I agree that sometimes there are glitches with marking so I would never ask for 100%, however I've also seen kids complain that mymaths marked their correct answer wrong, but in fact they were wrong.

For a Y10 to never be set written homework and for the teacher to have never marked their books and given them feedback is appalling (unless the teacher is marking other stuff such as fortnightly tests??). I would certainly be complaining to the head of department, as I can't imagine that this is in line with the school marking policy.

Laniakea Sun 12-Mar-17 11:53:43

I hate it (as does dd) - fortunately now she's in year 11 they've (finally) stopped using it & started setting proper homework ... even if it is only peer marked it is 100x more useful. What I particularly objected to was being told at parents' evening that if dd didn't understand a topic she should just look at mymaths. Even the format is cruddy.

IXL is much better for drilling stuff & khan is much better at actually teaching.

JustRichmal Sun 12-Mar-17 14:47:46

Thanks for that reply Noble. I was not aware Hegartymaths was now charging.

Badbadbunny Sun 12-Mar-17 17:12:57

I think you definitely need to speak to his maths teacher and head of maths (hopefully they're not the same person!).

Nail on the head - it is the head of maths!

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