Careers & Education

Adjust your attitude to adjust your math grade — Cheyenne

... Teen lands nine grade ones in CSEC

Petre Williams-Raynor

Sunday, September 02, 2012    

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MATH brain Cheyenne Campbell has said that key to doing well in mathematics is having a positive attitude to the subject.

Of course, taking the time to practise and then applying the concepts taught are also vitally important.

"I don't think it is that hard. All you have to do is apply the basic concepts. Math is really about problem solving and thinking. If you utilise your brain power, you won't have any problems in the subject," said the 16-year-old, who got a grade one in the subject in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations earlier this year. "But I think the main reason I do so well in math is because I love it very much."

"Some people have a mindset against it. Just the thought of the numbers, they are like, 'no, I can't do it'. But it's not a hard subject, it's not," insisted Cheyenne, who earned eight other grade ones in CSEC.

Last week, Career & Education spoke to her classmate Jevon Wilson, who himself earned a grade one in mathematics — in addition to seven other grade ones and a grade two.

His recipe for success in math was practice. However, like Cheyenne, he said it was important to also have a positive attitude.

"I think if you take a certain approach to math, for example, if you live, breathe, eat mathematics, do everything with mathematics — even if you don't love it — you can do well in it," said Jevon, 17.

"I honestly really love mathematics; I don't really love English. [However], as long as you devote time to the subject, you can do well. And just as how in English you can express yourself in words, I have a feeling that in math, you can express yourself using numbers," he added.

There is concern from various quarters in the society over the performance of students in mathematics in this year's CSEC exams. The results show that only 33 per cent of students who sat the exam earned a passing grade — one to three. That figure represents a decline in performance when compared to last year's 35 per cent, and 41 per cent in 2010.

The result has been that once again, educators and other stakeholders are left to ponder the answer to the continued poor performance of the Jamaican and Caribbean students as a whole in mathematics.

Among the proposed solutions is the appointment of specialist math teachers and the payment of a higher salary to teachers with a track record in delivering high-quality mathematics education to students.

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