# International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development 2014

International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development 2014

University of Southampton, UK, 29-31 July 2014

Conference themes:

• Textbook research (concepts, issues, methods, directions, etc.)
• Textbook analysis (characteristics, treatment of contents and/or pedagogy, etc.)
• Textbook comparison or historical studies
• Textbook use (by teachers, by students, and/or by other parties)
• Textbook development (presentation, task design, publishing, policy matters, etc.)
• Integration of ICT in textbooks (including e-textbook)
• Other disciplines in maths textbooks & maths in textbooks of other disciplines
• All other relevant issues about mathematics textbooks

Conference papers to be published in electronic proceedings
Opportunity to be considered for an edited book under negotiation with a major publisher.

# A pardon for Alan Turing

Alan Turing has been granted a posthumous pardon, overturning his 1952 conviction for homosexual activity. Making the announcement, the British Justice Minister Chris Grayling commented “Turing deserves to be remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science. A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man.”

This has given rise to the most extensive national and international media
coverage of Alan Turing and his legacy ever.

Internationally the response has been predominantly positive – Peter van
Emde Boas caught the mood with his “Congratulations with this success; it
doesn’t make the UK any less strange however… “. The fact the pardon
was 61 years coming was universally commented on.

In the UK, many were unhappy with the word ‘pardon’ wanting something recognised that the fault was that of the state. Everyone was concerned about others who had had lives ruined by the same law – and, like Turing, had died before they or their families could benefit from the recent legislation, which enables those living to apply to have their convictions ‘disregarded’ and wiped from the records. Here is the Stonewall guide to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (relevant to many of the “75,000 others” – in some places “50,000 others” – widely commented on):
http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_home/hate_crime_domestic_violence_and_criminal_law/8064.asp

The Cambridge Student webpage nicely captured the mood “Alan Turing’s pardon is simply not enough”, and got the facts right:
http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/comment/0031341-alan-turing-s-pardon-is-simply-not-enough.html

Many first heard the Royal Pardon news via radio or TV on Christmas Eve – for instance on the BBC Today programme that morning, with JohnHumphrys interviewing Baroness Trumpington and Barry Cooper:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25503464

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01nxh88

Baroness Trumpington was specially generous in her praise for Lord Sharkey, whose private members bill introduced in the House of Lords played such a large part in the eventual outcome. See also the BBC page “Royal pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing” with further videos: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25495315

Other Christmas Eve interviews included Sue Black in one for The Telegraph “Alan Turing’s Royal pardon is long overdue”: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10536644/Alan-Turings-Royal-pardon-is-long-overdue.html

And Barry Cooper’s interview for Sky TV News in the afternoon:

http://www1.maths.leeds.ac.uk/pure/logic/computability/BarryTalks/sky24_12_13.mov

You can also hear Barry interviewed on BBC Radio 3 Counties by Roberto Perrone (thanks to the BBC and Mark Cotton) at the Alan Turing Year AudioBoo webpage: https://audioboo.fm/AlanTuringYear

# Citizens’ Maths

Citizen’s Maths is a MOOC project funded by the Ufi Charitable Trust. It
is led by Calderdale College with CogBooks, the Institute of Education,
and OCR.

http://goo.gl/RexVLv is a call for maths teachers to express an interest
in working with Citizens’ Maths as “to camera” tutors.

The deadline for responses is Thursday 5/12/2013.

Please spread the call as widely as you wish.

# Tony Gardiner: National curriculum – Comments and suggested necessary changes

Published today:

From the Introduction:

The Education Order 2013 was “made” on 5 September 2013. The relevant details were “laid before parliament” on 11 September 2013, and will come into effect on 1 September 2014. Some of the details for GCSE were published on 1 November 2013. Further elaboration of GCSE assessment structure, and curriculum guidance for Key Stage 4 (Years 10–11, ages 14–16) are awaited.

It is generally agreed that the curriculum review process adopted over the last 3–4 years has been seriously flawed. Those involved worked hard, often under very difficult conditions. But the overall approach (of relying on civil servants and drafters whose responsibilities and constraints remained inscrutable) has merely demonstrated that drafting and maintaining curricula is a specialist task, requiring dedicated professionals with specialist experience.

Whatever flaws there may have been in the process, we will all have to live with the new curriculum for some years. So it is important to have an open discussion of the likely difficulties. This article is an attempt to indicate aspects of the National curriculum in England: mathematics programmes of study that will need to be handled with considerable care, and revised in the light of experience.

After three years of widespread unease about the process of the curriculum review and its apparent direction, it is remarkable that there has been almost no media coverage, and no clear professional response to the final mathematics programmes of study for ages 5–14. There is therefore a real danger that insights that emerged along the way will simply be forgotten, and that the same mistakes may then be made next time. [...]

The details laid before parliament are statutory’; but they incorporate basic flaws, and significant contradictions between the statutory list of content (which could all-too-easily be imposed uncritically) and the declared over-arching “aims” (which could get forgotten, or ignored). Given these flaws, the fate of the new programmes of study will depend on how sensitively their implementation is handled—whether slavishly, or intelligently. Teachers—and Ofsted, senior management, etc.—need to be alert to those aspects of the stated programmes of study that incorporate predictable pitfalls.

We summarise here what seem to be the two most important flaws.

Some material in Key Stage 1 and 2 is very poorly specified (especially from Year 4 onwards).

Some items are listed unnecessarily and unrealistically early, and so may be introduced at a stage:

• where they are not yet needed,
• where they will not be understood,
• where they will be badly taught, and
• where – if the relevant requirements were relaxed – the premature material could easily be delayed without causing any subsequent problems.

The listing of content for Key Stage 3 is in some ways reasonable, but too many things are left implicit. The programme of study is less structured than, and contains less detail than, that for Key Stages 1 and 2. Hence the details of the Key Stage 3 programme need interpretation. At present:

• the words of each bullet point are rarely elaborated;
• the connections between themes are mostly suppressed; and
• there is no mention of essential preliminaries.

In addition

• the Key Stage 3 programme has no accompanying Notes and guidance’.

In summary, if the declared goals for Key Stage 4 are to be realised,

• we need some way of clarifying the specified content and relaxing the unnecessary and potentially damaging pressures built in to the Key Stage 1–2 curriculum as it stands; and
• the centrally prescribed curriculum for Key Stage 3 needs to be much more clearly structured to help schools understand what it is that is currently missing at this level—initially by providing suitable non-statutory `Notes and guidance’.

# MathJax v2.3 now available

From The MathJax Team:
After a successful beta run, we’re happy to officially release MathJax v2.3.

MathJax v2.3 is available on the CDN, and for download from GitHub or via the download page at http://www.mathjax.org/download/.

Version 2.3 is available on the CDN at

http://cdn.mathjax.org/mathjax/2.3-latest/MathJax.js

and starting today the files at the

http://cdn.mathjax.org/mathjax/latest/MathJax.js

address will be switched over the v2.3; it will take 24h-48h for the changes to propagate out to the distributed cloud servers.

# GCSE: Higher level content

Reformed GCSE subject content includes three types of content: standard, underlined and bold. In the words of he document,

The expectation is that:

• All students will develop confidence and competence with the content identified by standard type
• All students will be assessed on the content identified by the standard and the underlined [here, for technical reasons, emphasised -- AB] type; more highly attaining students will develop confidence and competence with all of this content
• Only the more highly attaining students will be assessed on the content identified by bold type. The highest attaining students will develop confidence and competence with the bold content.

The distinction between standard, underlined and bold type applies to the content statements only, not to the assessment objectives or to the mathematical formulae in the appendix.

What follows is the list of items in the  Mathematics GCSE subject content and assessment objectives which contain bold type, higher content.I think this short lists clearly marks the boundaries of GCSE — AB

# What exactly do student evaluations measure?

From a post by  Philip Stark on The Berkeley Blog:

●  student teaching evaluation scores are highly correlated with students’ grade expectations[10]

●  effectiveness scores and enjoyment scores are related[11]

●  students’ ratings of instructors can be predicted from the students’ reaction to 30 seconds of silent video of the instructor: first impressions may dictate end-of-course evaluation scores, and physical attractiveness matters[12]

●  the genders and ethnicities of the instructor and student matter, as does the age of the instructor[13]

Red the whole text.