New Cur 27: The Proof Is in the Plodding

A month or so ago, we posted on Euclid et al, asking about the proper role of proof in a mathematics curriculum. The question and subsequent discussion was purely theoretical of course, since proof barely exists in the Australian Curriculum. Here’s the proof. Continue reading “New Cur 27: The Proof Is in the Plodding”

New Cur 25: Some Cultures Are More Equal Than Others

It’s a mathematics curriculum: one does not expect much history or many references to other cultures. Typically there are a few Roman numerals, a quick hello to Pythagoras and Archimedes, and that’s about it. More would be good, but it is not to be expected.

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David de Carvalho, Annotated, Again

Two years ago, we annotated parts of a speech that ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho, gave at The Age Schools Summit. De Carvalho’s stage-setting for ACARA’s soon-to-be-released draft curriculum was nonsense throughout, and included a cunning reference to the “Joint Maths Statement” from “five of the leading maths and science organisations” supposedly supporting the then secret draft curriculum; it only emerged a year later that ACARA had prior knowledge of, and appears to have been intimately involved in the production of, this purportedly independent statement. Classy work from a classy guy. Continue reading “David de Carvalho, Annotated, Again”

New Cur 24: ATSI Elaborations and the Games People Play

Last year, after the appearance of ACARA’s appalling draft curriculum, we ran a competition: find the best Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elaboration. No one took our competition seriously. This was perhaps unsurprising, since most readers of this blog would have been sceptical already, and then our introduction to the competition hammered the ATSI cross-curriculum priority as enacted in the draft mathematics curriculum. We were serious, but no matter. There is a new mathematics curriculum, with revised ATSI elaborations, and we move on.

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ACARA Didn’t Expect the Sydney Inquisition

Catholics Schools NSW has begun some serious interrogation of ACARA. Led by CEO Dallas McInerney, their chief weapon is sense, and truth. Their two weapons are sense and truth, and intelligence. Their three weapons are sense and truth and intelligence, and a pastoral ethic. Amongst their weapons are … Continue reading “ACARA Didn’t Expect the Sydney Inquisition”

New Cur 23: False Equivalence


The word “equivalent” is one of the most useful in mathematics and one of the most abused in mathematics education. The implication is that this one is not all ACARA’s fault. Nonetheless, the fact that it was predictable that ACARA would make a mess of it doesn’t alter the fact that ACARA made a mess of it. So, here we are. And a warning: this is a long post; there seemed no way around it.

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Witch 91: Engaging With Reality

Following on from Adam Carey’s report on the decline of enrolments in Specialist Mathematics, Radio National held an interview-discussionHow to re-engage students in mathematics. The interview was with the president of the MAV and the Chief Engineer of Engineers Australia. We haven’t the energy to document or analyse their various diagnoses and caveats and solutions. Go for it. Continue reading “Witch 91: Engaging With Reality”