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(2) There is no doubt that this was significantly influenced by an initiative in primary mathematics that began in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham (LBBD).
For more than ten years, a team of researchers at NIESR has been involved in making international comparisons of mathematics standards at different levels of schooling, with many of the comparisons being carried out in collaboration with inspectors and advisory teachers in LBBD. Over one hundred classes in Switzerland, Germany and Holland have been visited, in order to understand better the relationship between teaching methods, teaching materials and successful teaching in mathematics.
Provisional figures for 2001 indicate that, whereas at the national level the percentage of pupils achieving the 'expected' Level 4 or better fell by 1 percent from the 2000 figure to 71 per cent, in LBBD the figure increased to 72 per cent (see table 4).
The data in table 6 for schools in LBBD using IPM materials show that in each category of school the percentage of pupils failing to achieve Level 2 is better than the national figure, and the difference is especially apparent among schools with more than 50 per cent of pupils eligible for FSM.
We know that the standard of teaching in the IPM project is high -- inspectors from LBBD and researchers from NIESR have carefully monitored this.
Percentages of pupils gaining Level 4 or better in mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2: England and LBBD Year % of pupils ganining Level 4 or better England LBBD 1995 44 28 1996 54 41 1997 62 54 1998 59 54 1999 69 68 2000 72 71 2001 provisional 71 72 Sources: DfEE, 1998; 2000; DfES, 2001; LBBD Statistics Unit.
The pupils in Zurich were, on average, a similar age to the LBBD pupils but had twenty months less experience of formal schooling.
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