Rationale and research
There are commentators who suggest that some students cannot learn mathematics whatever we do. The GRIN Intervention Program has demonstrated that this is a false assumption and that students can learn if given appropriate opportunity. (Sullivan and Gunningham, 2011)
The latest results from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Program for International Student Assessment that assesses reading, scientific and mathematical literacy in 65 countries showed Australia was one of only four countries to have a big decline in student performance in the last decade.
While Australian students overall are doing well, there is a long tail of underachievement. This is no surprise to teachers of mathematics.