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Scotland could teach England about maths education

10/02/2012 Joanna
Mathematics education in England is lagging behind its international rivals and it could learn a thing or two north of the border.

Those are some of the findings of a new report into maths education in England published by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) today (February 10th).

The in-depth study found that maths provisions are damaging the country's competitiveness and suggests that policy makers learn from the example set in Scotland and revise their approach to better equip people in maths teaching jobs.

Author of the 'Solving the Maths Problem' report and RSA associate director, Emma Norris, said: "With nearly 50 per cent of our students failing to achieve GCSE mathematics, long term reform should be an urgent priority for ministers.

"English students would benefit from maths education that's flexible to learner needs, rather than the regimented exam-driven approach that currently characterises England's mathematics qualifications."

Building on the recent report by famous mathematician Carol Vorderman, the study found that many of England's OECD peers are now ahead in terms of maths provisions and one-quarter of English adults are to some extent innumerate.

Supporting an idea proposed by education secretary Michael Gove recently, the report suggests that England follows the example of Hong Kong, where young people study maths until university.

In Scotland, 25 per cent of students take mathematics until they are at least 18-years-old, while in England this figure is just 15 per cent.

The report recommends that maths educations be provided through "flexible, bi-level qualifications" that enable pupils to develop at their own speed while targeting the highest grade possible.

It was also critical of the current assessment criteria, which in many instances it found leads to teaching to the test and suggested that the level of diversity in qualifications can be confusing for young people and needs to be addressed.

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-801289839-ADNFCR
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