The answer, it seems, is “NO!”
In this brave new world of Maths education at primary (and secondary) levels, there’s an increasing emphasis on open-ended maths questions.
Questions that encourage mathematical thinking.
Questions that stimulate interest in things mathematical, without actually having a single solution.
Well, maybe not a SINGLE solution, but possibly MANY solutions.
With each solution demanding a considered approach: — “How did you do this? Why did you do it that way? Does your answer make sense? Is there a better way to solve the problem?” And so on.
As usual, though, we need to be asking the question, “Does this approach suit ALL students? Or most of them? Or some of them? Or just a few of them?”
And another question. Is it reasonable to expect teachers to be personally equipped to handle the possibly multiple attempts, by multiple students, who may very well get multiple answers to the question being considered?
Teaching is a fantastic career, and with committed, highly-skilled teachers giving of themselves to those children in their charge, the demands are high.
Given the pressures on teachers, is the “open-ended question” approach a step too far, demanding as it does an enormous, some would say unreasonable, commitment of time and dedication to answer open-ended questions that, in many cases, demand quite sophisticated, considered solutions?
An example of an open-ended question for primary students:
“The perimeter of a rectangular swimming pool is 80 metres. What might the length and width of that swimming pool be?”
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