Friday, 13 February 2015

Error in Primary Mathematics National Curriculum

Come with me to the Year 5 Mathematics Programme of Study for England, where we read that pupils should be taught to ...

"know and use the vocabulary of prime numbers, prime factors and composite (non- prime) numbers"

This was clearly written by someone who doesn't!

'Composite number' is not synonymous with 'non-prime number'.

A composite number is a positive integer with two or more factors greater than 1.

So, composite numbers are: 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, ...

The error in the National Curriculum is to overlook the fact that 1 is NOT a composite number. Of course, it is not a prime number either. So, 1 is the only integer that is neither prime nor composite.

OK, so it is only a small error. But it is still embarrassing to have a mathematical error in our National Curriculum: to add to all the pedagogical errors.

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