Mathematics across Pre-primary to Year 12

Although the curriculum is described year by year, this document provides advice across four year groupings on the nature of learners and the relevant curriculum:

  • Pre-primary – Year 2: typically students from 5 to 8 years of age
  • Years 3–6: typically students from 8 to 12 years of age
  • Years 7–10: typically students from 12 to 15 years of age
  • Senior secondary years: typically students from 15 to 18 years of age.

Pre-primary – Year 2

The early years (5–8 years of age) lay the foundation for learning mathematics. Students at this level can access powerful mathematical ideas relevant to their current lives and learn the language of mathematics, which is vital to future progression.

Children have the opportunity to access mathematical ideas by developing a sense of number, order, sequence and pattern; by understanding quantities and their representations; by learning about attributes of objects and collections, position, movement and direction, and by developing an awareness of the collection, presentation and variation of data and a capacity to make predictions about chance events.

Understanding and experiencing these concepts in the early years provides a foundation for algebraic, statistical and multiplicative thinking, that will develop in subsequent years. These foundations also enable children to pose basic mathematical questions about their world, to identify simple strategies to investigate solutions, and to strengthen their reasoning to solve personally meaningful problems.

Years 3–6

These years emphasise the importance of students studying coherent, meaningful and purposeful mathematics that is relevant to their lives. Students still require active experiences that allow them to construct key mathematical ideas, but also gradually move to using models, pictures and symbols to represent these ideas.

The curriculum develops key understandings by extending the number, measurement, geometric and statistical learning from the early years; by building foundations for future studies through an emphasis on patterns that lead to generalisations; by describing relationships from data collected and represented; by making predictions; and by introducing topics that represent a key challenge in these years, such as fractions and decimals.

In these years of schooling, it is particularly important for students to develop a deep understanding of whole numbers to build reasoning in fractions and decimals and to develop a conceptual understanding of place value. These concepts allow students to develop proportional reasoning and flexibility with number through mental computation skills, and to extend their number sense and statistical fluency.

Years 7–10

These years of school mark a shift in mathematics learning to more abstract ideas. Through key activities such as the exploration, recognition and application of patterns, the capacity for abstract thought can be developed and the ways of thinking associated with abstract ideas can be illustrated.

The foundations built in previous years prepare students for this change. Previously established mathematical ideas can be drawn upon in unfamiliar sequences and combinations to solve non-routine problems and to consequently develop more complex mathematical ideas. However, students of this age also need an understanding of the connections between mathematical concepts and their application in their world as a motivation to learn. This means using contexts directly related to topics of relevance and interest to this age group.

During these years, students need to be able to represent numbers in a variety of ways; to develop an understanding of the benefits of algebra, through building algebraic models and applications and the various applications of geometry; to estimate and select appropriate units of measure; to explore ways of working with data to allow a variety of representations; and to make predictions about events based on their observations.

The intent of the curriculum is to encourage the development of important ideas in more depth, and to promote the interconnectedness of mathematical concepts. An obvious concern is the preparation of students intending to continue studying mathematics in the senior secondary years. Teachers will, in implementing the curriculum, extend the more mathematically able students by using appropriate challenges and extensions within available topics. A deeper understanding of mathematics in the curriculum enhances a student's potential to use this knowledge to solve non-routine problems, both at this level of study and at later stages.

The 10A content is optional and is intended for students who require more content to enrich their mathematical study whilst completing the common Year 10 content. It is NOT anticipated that all students will attempt the 10A content, but doing so would be advantageous for students intending to pursue Mathematical Methods or Mathematics Specialist in the senior secondary years. A selection of topics from the 10A curriculum can be completed according to the needs of the students.

It is anticipated that all students will study the Western Australian Curriculum: Mathematics up to the end of Year 10. From Year 10, the curriculum should provide pathway options suitable for students of differing abilities and interests, and with a range of future career and study plans.

Senior secondary years

Four mathematics courses have been designed for the senior secondary years. They have been designed to allow flexibility for students, taking into account a range of future pathways and the reality that some students reassess their choice of mathematics program part way through the senior secondary years.

The elements of the content strands from Pre-primary to Year 10 are evident in the senior secondary curriculum, but are not used as the major organisers. The proficiency strands of Understanding, Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving are integrated into the content descriptions as in the Pre-primary to Year 10 curriculum.