Teaching Secondary Mathematics

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA


The Teaching Secondary Mathematics resource is for classroom teachers and school leaders of mathematics, especially from Years 7–10.  The underlying purpose of this resource is to support schools and teachers in making a difference to:

  • each student’s achievement in mathematics
  • each student’s experience of learning mathematics
  • each student’s capacity as a learner
  • each student’s growth as a community member.

This resource provides many options and ideas that have proved beneficial to some teachers.  These options and ideas are addressed through nine professional learning modules each with downloadable explanations and presentations. Each school can chart its own pathway through the resource, exploring areas of particular interest and value for its own needs and purposes.

Computer access is desirable for all modules; some sessions require access to the internet.

Key messages that underpin mathematics learning and teaching

  • The learner is at the centre of all decision making about learning
  • There is a need to improve mathematics learning for all students, and to narrow the gap of achievement
  • Effective teachers and schools make a marked difference to student performance
  • Assessment is the foundation for supporting mathematics learning through matching teaching strategies to individual student needs with a focus on assessment for learning
  • Students’ learning in mathematics contributes to their learning in other domains including Thinking Processes, ICT, Personal Learning and Interpersonal Development
  • High-quality mathematics teaching is consistent with the Principles of Learning and Teaching P–12
  • Improved outcomes for students in mathematics will consequently improve their career opportunities.

Interrelated structures underpinning this resource:

Overview and structure of the resource

Modules 1, 2 and 9 provide essential information regarding mathematics pedagogy, resources and planning for change. Modules 3 to 8 focus on a particular mathematical context set within a pedagogical theme.

Module 1 - Overview of learning in the Mathematics Domain


Module 2 - Overview of the Mathematics Developmental Continuum P–10


Module 3 - Narrowing the achievement gap: Focus on fractions


Module 4 - Conducting practical and collaborative work: Focus on contours


Module 5 - Understanding students’ mathematical thinking: Focus on algebra and the meaning of letters


Module 6 - Using a range of strategies and resources: Focus on percentages


Module 7 - Learning through investigation: Focus on chance and variability


Module 8 - Working mathematically: Focus on a range of challenging problems


Module 9 - Conclusion: Planning for improvement in mathematics


Guiding principles
Guidelines to help your school improve student outcomes in mathematics.

Supporting resources
Online resources and tools providing learning and teaching support for teachers of mathematics.

Foreword from the expert authors

The Teaching Secondary Mathematics Program was developed by Professor Kaye Stacey, Lynda Ball, Dr Helen Chick, Cath Pearn, Dr Robyn Pierce and Dr Vicki Steinle from the University of Melbourne, in consultation with DEECD.

This face-to-face program targeted teachers considered to be of key importance to the future of teaching mathematics for years 7–10 in their school. The three days focused on linking the Department’s mathematics resources, advice and activities presented in the Mathematics Developmental Continuum P–10 and the Principles of Learning and Teaching P–12 to the teaching of mathematics.

Teachers engaged in deep and lively discussion on the challenges of providing high quality teaching in mathematics. They were excited to take away new, research-based understanding about the way students learn mathematics and the common misconceptions that need to be identified and addressed.

Supporting resources on the Mathematics Domain section

The Teaching Secondary Mathematics resource incorporates key Departmental resources accessed through the Mathematics Domain section of this site, including:

  • Mathematics Developmental Continuum P–10  - provides evidence based indicators of progress, linked to powerful teaching strategies, aligned to the progression points and the standards for the Mathematics Domain of the Victorian Essential Learning Standards. Indicators of progress are points on the learning continuum that highlight critical understandings required by students in order to progress through the standards.
  • Scaffolding Numeracy in the Middle Years - an assessment-guided approach to improving student numeracy outcomes in the middle years. The suite of resources brings together in a hierarchy the key ideas, strategies and representations of multiplicative thinking needed to work flexibly and confidently with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages across a wide range of contexts.
  • Common Misunderstandings – Introduction - provides assessment tools that expose students’ thinking, but also requires an interpretation of what different student responses might mean and some practical ideas to address the particular learning needs identified. This is particularly important in relation to a relatively small number of ‘big’ ideas and strategies in Number, without which students’ progress in mathematics will be seriously impacted.
  • The Fractions and Decimals Online Interview - provides a means of tracking students’ learning through significant big ideas in Fractions, Decimals, Ratio and Percentages.  The interview (accessible through the Mathematics Domain – Assessment page) consists of appropriate hands-on and mental computation assessment tasks where students can demonstrate mathematical understanding and preferred strategies for solving increasingly complex tasks.


The Teaching Secondary Mathematics resource will grow and develop over time in response to the latest research findings and feedback from practising teachers. Feedback should be directed to: studentlearning@edumail.vic.gov.au