The aim of junior cycle mathematics is to provide relevant and challenging opportunities for all students to become mathematically proficient so that they can cope with the mathematical challenges of daily life and enable them to continue their study of mathematics in senior cycle and beyond. In this specification, mathematical proficiency is conceptualised not as a one-dimensional trait but as having five interconnected and interwoven components:
- conceptual understanding—comprehension of mathematical concepts, operations, and relations
- procedural fluency—skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately
- strategic competence—ability to formulate, represent, and solve mathematical problems in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts
- adaptive reasoning—capacity for logical thought, reflection, explanation, justification and communication
- productive disposition—habitual inclination to see mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile, coupled with a belief in diligence, perseverance and one’s own efficacy.
In addition to their specific content and knowledge, the subjects and short courses of junior cycle provide students with opportunities to develop a range of key skills. There are opportunities to support all key skills in this course but some are particularly significant.
The junior cycle curriculum focuses on eight key skills: