Back-to-Front Maths Program Challenging Students’ Misconceptions

Mrs Diggens sitting in an orange classroom instructing students with clipboards

25 March 2021

At Coastal Lakes College our Mathematics department have been implementing the Back-to-Front Maths program, at both a whole school and Small Group Intervention level.

Back-to-Front Maths is a teaching approach rather than a set of resources. It uses problem-based learning that encourages students to explore new concepts before the classroom teacher gives formal explanations. This helps make the content more engaging, builds new connections and improves student results, creating those ‘aha’ moments that make learning more powerful.
Back-to-Front Maths uses a multi-layered approach to address student’s misconceptions. Our classroom teachers and support staff identify student’s misconceptions by posing problem solving tasks and then support students to solve these problems through clear and directed questioning. Students then formalise their findings into mathematical principles and extend those principles and skills to other areas of the curriculum and across all learning areas.

This means that our mathematics classes may look a little bit different than students usually experience. Some of the things that may be different to your child’s previous classes include working on concepts they may not have seen before, they may not get the ‘help’ they are used to straight away and the focus will be on skills rather than learning or remembering content. The results can be really outstanding, “The classes were really helpful, we would work together in smaller classes and go into more detail about each topic. Throughout the lesson the teacher would ask us heaps of questions and by doing that we learnt that there were different ways to figure out problems. It gave us a chance to focus more on the content and I am more confident in my math skills”, said Elijah.

The Head of Learning Area, Keavy Diggens, who has been leading the implementation, has been thoroughly impressed with the outcomes students have been achieving. “Over the past two years that we have been implementing the program we have seen higher than expected levels of growth in students, on average our students experienced over 2 years growth in both the diagnostics assessment and PAT tests, over a 12-month period. It’s wonderful to see the students challenging themselves, working together in teams and showing a growth mindset.”

The Back-to-Front Maths parents’ portal ( has some great tips and apps for parents should you wish to support your child’s learning at home.


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