This mathematics specification provides students with access to important mathematical ideas to develop the mathematical knowledge and skills that they will draw on in their personal and work lives. This specification also provides students, as lifelong learners, with the basis on which further study and research in mathematics and many other fields are built.
Mathematical ideas have evolved across societies and cultures over thousands of years, and are constantly developing. Digital technologies are facilitating this expansion of ideas and provide new tools for mathematical exploration and invention. While the usefulness of mathematics for problem solving is well known, mathematics also has a fundamental role in both enabling and sustaining cultural, social, economic and technological advances and empowering individuals to become critical citizens.
The specification is underpinned by the conception of mathematics as an interconnected body of ideas and reasoning processes that students negotiate collaboratively with teachers and their peers and as independent learners. Number, measurement and geometry, statistics and probability are common aspects of most people’s mathematical experiences in everyday personal, study and work situations. Equally important are the essential roles that algebra, functions and relations, logic, mathematical structure and working mathematically play in people’s understanding of the natural and social worlds, and the interaction between them.
The mathematics specification builds on students’ prior learning and focuses on developing increasingly sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, reasoning, computational thinking and problem solving. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing mathematics to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.
The specification supports student learning across the whole educational system by ensuring that the links between the various components of mathematics, as well as the relationship between mathematics and other subjects, are emphasised. Mathematics is composed of multiple but interrelated and interdependent concepts and structures which students can apply beyond the mathematics classroom. For example, in science, understanding sources of error and their impact on the confidence of conclusions is vital; in geography, interpretation of data underpins the study of human populations and their physical environments; in history, students need to be able to imagine timelines and time frames to reconcile related events; and in English, deriving quantitative, logical and spatial information is an important aspect of making meaning of texts. Thus the understanding of mathematics developed through study at junior cycle can inform and support students’ learning across the whole educational system.