Is it dyscalculia at PLE in Bukwo District?

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Scenario:

Bukwo District is one of the those in the Sebei Sub region in the Eastern Region of Uganda.

In Bukwo District, with over 3000 students that sat for PLE 2020, up to 87.7% scored between P7-F9 with atleast 53.9% of the total candidature scoring F9!

 

  • Are these children having dyscalculia, or it’s the mode of teaching and the focus attached to the subject. Are the teachers qualified, motivated and empowered, or they are on a mission to earn their work pay?
  • Are the head teachers of these schools concerned about these results?
  • Are the district councilors promising anything in line with value addition to education of the district?
  • Is the District Education Officer noting the trend of performance in the district?
  • Are the children into education or they are fulfilling the mandatory access to education? Worth noting is up to 40.5% of the district PLE 2020 Candidature scored Division U! and only 15 students scored a first Grade

 

 Dyscalculia might not be familiar to many, but it is one of the most common learning difficulties. Dyscalculia is a condition where a person struggles in understanding and performing math problems, or any tasks related to mathematics. Most children may have trouble in mathematics at some point especially during their first few years in school, but this is normal and they do eventually overcome it. However, in the case of children with dyscalculia, they may struggle a lot more and it perpetuates over time.

Children with dyscalculia struggle in understanding mathematical concepts such as more or less and bigger or smaller. They also lack number sense which is understanding the connection of the word form and numeric form of numbers. Children with dyscalculia also struggles in performing or solving mathematical equations. Additionally, they may struggle in counting, telling time and understanding math symbols.

Dyscalculia is also referred to as a mathematical learning disability or mathematical disorder. Some even call it math dyslexia. However, calling it math dyslexia can be misleading.  Dyslexia and dyscalculia may have some similarities, but they are not the same thing. Dyslexia is a reading disorder while dyscalculia is a mathematical disorder

Symptoms of Dyscalculia

Symptoms of dyscalculia varies greatly among children of different ages. Experiencing Math problems at a young age is quite common among children which makes it difficult to detect dyscalculia. However, symptoms of dyscalculia become more apparent as the child grow older. Here are some of the symptoms of dyscalculia to look out for in your child:

Pre-school

  • Trouble in the order of numbers when counting. Forgets and skips numbers more frequently than other children
  • Struggles in connecting numeric symbol to its word from. For example, the child may not understand that number “1” is the same as “one”
  • Difficulty in understanding concepts like smallest or largest and tallest to shortest

Lower Primary

  • Poor at identifying and using Math symbols like + and – properly
  • Difficulty in completing mental sums and may still use fingers when counting or solving simple math equations
  • Difficulty in understanding the concept of greater than and less than
  • Struggles in identifying the place value of a number and often writes the numbers in the wrong order

Upper Primary – Secondary School

  • Takes too much time in understanding and solving Math problems
  • May have a hard time dealing with money due to difficulty in computing total cost of things and change
  • Actively avoid situations or games that may involve Math
  • Difficulty in understanding information on charts and graphs
  • Struggles in activities that are related to speed, distance and direction

Possible Causes of Dyscalculia

While there are no exact causes of dyscalculia, researchers identified some possible factors related to it. Firstly, dyscalculia may run in families, some parents pride in statements like “None of our family members passed sciences!”. Genetics plays a big role in whether the child may or may not have dyscalculia. Secondly, dyscalculia can be caused by an under-development in the brain areas that are associated with numerical and mathematical processing. Thirdly, prenatal conditions have shown to affect the baby’s growth as well. For example, dyscalculia has been linked to fetal alcohol syndrome, premature birth and low birth weight. Lastly, dyscalculia can also be caused by injuries to areas of the brain that are responsible for mathematical processing.

Treatment

Unlike dyslexia, there are no specific teaching program for children with dyscalculia. However, professionals can provide strategies and a systematic approach to help kids learn and understand Math. There are no specified medications to treat dyscalculia.  If your child is diagnosed with dyscalculia and you want to understand the condition better, seek help to from special education teachers, Math tutors (who are experienced in working with children with learning difficulties), educational therapists, child psychologists and paediatric neuropsychologists. Also, things like extra time on tests, frequent classwork checks, Step-by-step instructions for multi-step problems, Sample problems on the board and in a reference notebook, Calculators, Straightforward reference charts, diagrams or three-dimensional representations, Uncluttered, easy-to-read worksheets, Fewer assigned problems to assess understanding among others can help reduce.

Pass rate for PLE 2020 Mathematics in Bukwo District where pass rate is the percentage pass grades for math

Posn

School

Pass rate (%)

1

Kabokwo Primary School

50.0

2

St.Paul Kapseneton Primary School

37.5

3

Chekwir Primary School

32.8

4

Riwo Primary School

32.4

5

Kamunchan Primary School

32.4

6

Kortek Primary School

23.8

7

Sossyo Primary School

22.5

8

Tartar Primary School

20.9

9

Muton Primary School

23.1

10

Kapngokin Primary School

20.5

11

Bukwo Primary School

17.3

12

Chemuron Primary School

16.2

13

Tuyobei Primary School

5.0

14

Amanang Primary School

12.7

15

Ndilai Primary School

2.5

16

Mutushet P.7 School

12.0

17

Chepkuto Primary School

11.9

18

Yemitek Primary School

20.0

19

Chesimat Primary School

4.7

20

Kabei Primary School

10.7

21

Chesower Primary School

8.8

22

Cheboi Primary School

8.5

23

Kapchemoken Primary School

11.8

24

Chepkwasta Primary School

4.4

25

Kamet Primary School

7.5

26

Suam Primary School

7.8

27

Kapsekek Primary School

3.6

28

Muimet Primary School

2.3

29

Kaptomologon Primary School

5.9

30

Senendet Primary School

3.3

31

Kabyoyon Primary School

6.6

32

Kapsarur Primary School

5.4

33

Tulel Primary School

6.3

34

Kapkoros Primary School

2.9

35

Rwandet Primary School

3.1

36

Chemwabit Primary School

5.7

37

Kwirwot Primary School

3.3

38

Mokoyon Primary School

2.2

39

Kaptererwa Primary School

1.7

40

St.Peters Kapkware Primary School

3.6

41

Brim Primary School

6.1

42

Kapsiywo Primary School

0.0

Parts of these article are extracts from Singapore; Cognitive Development Learning Centre