Math Musings

What to Do After Failing Math in Primary 5

by | May 14, 2020 | Video

So, your child has done badly in his Math paper or even failed… and he’s in Primary 5.

If you are a first-time Primary 5 parent, you may be shocked and upset.

Don’t be quick to scold your child or blame him. This will only demoralize him and make him give up.

Before you start to panic, first, understand that Primary 5 is very different from Primary 4. The format is different, allocation of marks is different and the allocated time is different. 

It is not uncommon for students who have been scoring very well in Primary 4 to experience a drop in Primary 5. A drop of 10 marks is quite common and, in some instances, even as far as a drop of 50 marks.

What you need to do is:

No 1 – Assess Your Child’s Math paper

which section did he lose the most marks in. If he has failed, chances are that he has done badly for both Paper 1 and Paper 2. 

Paper 1 consists of mostly straightforward questions that only requires basic calculations and some short word problems. If students scored poorly in this section, it means that his Math foundation is weak. 

A lot of times, this weak foundation is not prominent during the lower level of Primary One to Three because the questions are relatively easy. 

However, by Primary 4 and 5, if the Math foundation is not strengthened and students are still not very certain, this will show in Paper 1 of Primary 5.

– If most of the marks lost is in Paper 2, then the problem lies in solving Word problems. Most questions will test on the application of the topics and concepts learned and may not be straight forward. They do not only need thinking skills but higher order thinking skills. 

No 2 – After assessing the Math Paper and pin-point areas of improvement, the next thing to do is to improve and skills that are lacking.

To improve on Paper 1, students need to strengthen the foundation and fundamental concepts. Build confidence on being proficient in the basic calculations and topical exercises including solving short word problems which are usually straight forward. Students should be able to solve using basic heuristics like model drawing methods.

If it’s Paper 2 that needs improvement, then students need to develop and sharpen on his problem-solving skills including understanding deeper concepts, hone higher order thinking skills and equip himself with more advance problem-solving heuristics. 

Now this is can be a struggle for many students if his foundation is not strong and if he does not have a growth and positive mindset to Math. 

No 3 – Work Hard

Work hard, instill self-belief and have an open and positive mind to learning 

We have seen students who are willing to work hard and have an open mind to learning, improving a lot in using the heuristics and methods taught. 

Whereas those who are not willing to change the old habits will remain stuck and not able to improve much in Paper 2. 

Parents and teachers will need to encourage students that failing or doing badly at first does not signify failure, but the willingness to want to improve and do better is important to achieve success.

Failing or doing badly in the initial part of Primary 5 is only a temporary setback. 

If parents and students understand why and are willing to work towards improving,  then recovery and swinging back on track is very possible by year end. 

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