In Australia the Proportion of Students At Year 12 Level Who Study Advanced Or Intermediate Maths is Falling Every Year

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Maths Problems

Maths Problems

Australian schools are presiding over a DUMBING DOWN of our children in the area of Mathematics.

Each year since 1995, more and more Year 12 Mathematics students in Australia opt for studying lower levels of Mathematics than the students of the previous year.

By 2004:

  • Only 34.3% of Year 12 students studied Mathematics at Intermediate or Advanced Levels. In other words, two thirds of our Year 12 students leave school with only rudimentary Maths skills.
  • The proportion of students only studying at Elementary Level had climbed to 46%.
  • And tragically, an incredible19.7% didn’t study Mathematics at all.

For the ten years 1995–2004, the changes in the numbers of students presenting for Year 12 mathematics in Australia can be summarised as follows:

  • The proportion of students taking advanced mathematics dropped from 14.1% of the Year 12 student population in 1995 to 11.7% in 2004.
  • The proportion of students taking intermediate mathematics (but not advanced mathematics) dropped from 27.2% of the Year 12 student population in 1995 to 22.6% in 2004.
  • The proportion of students taking elementary mathematics (but not intermediate or advanced mathematics) rose from approximately 37% of the Year 12 student population in 1995 to approximately 46% in 2004.

(‘Participation in Year 12 mathematics across Australia 1995-2004′ by Frank Barrington for the International Centre of Excellence for Education in Mathematics and the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute).

The Long-Term Impact of Poor Maths Skills

A friend of mine recently completed a Nursing Degree. Of the 185 students who started the course, only 35 completed it. Most of the 150 dropouts left because they didn’t know enough basic fraction and decimal skills to pass their drug calculations test.

And, one of our clients who was studying for a Nursing Degree was the only student in his class to get full marks in his drug calculation test – every other student in the course had to re-sit the exam.

This problem extends into most other degrees which don’t have Mathematics at Year 12 as a pre-requisite. When I studied Psychology many years ago, many students failed the compulsory Statistics subjects because of poor Maths skills. Most degrees at university level include subjects on Statistics.

What This Means For Your Child

Do you want your child to go to university if he/she chooses to?

Do you want your child to get the degree he/she studies for – or to drop out?

If you answered yes to both of these questions, I suggest the following:

  • You make sure that your child is in the top 10% of his/her class in Maths (and Science) right through school. If the school does not give grades then make sure your child is operating well above average and is encountering no difficulties that you can’t fix.
  • Your child’s Maths grades should never get below a B, and should preferably be an A every time.
  • If you don’t know what to do to fix your child’s problem contact us and we will help you fix it.
  • Do not delay doing something about the problem – people do not grow out of Maths problems.

To find out more about Our Mathematics Programs click here: Details of High Performance Learning Mathematics Programs.

Chris Brooks
High Performance Learning

I welcome your comments. You can add them below.

2 thoughts on “In Australia the Proportion of Students At Year 12 Level Who Study Advanced Or Intermediate Maths is Falling Every Year

    • It is not the amount of work that matters, if you don’t get the grades you don’t get into the course you want then you don’t get in!

      Actually, the real issue it is the quality of your work – in other words, HOW you do the work.
      – Most unsuccessful students focus on memory of facts rather than understanding.
      – Another reason people do poorly in Maths is that they cannot define all the Mathematical terms well enough and so they make reading mistakes when reading the textbook and the exam questions.

      Understanding and vocab make learning easier!

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