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Fewer girls studying maths:

The lack of compulsory study of maths in schools is having an impact on the number who study it.
By Motherpedia
Date: March 05 2013
Editor Rating:

The percentage of girls studying no maths for their HSC has more than doubled in the past decade, a report co-authored by University of Sydney researchers shows.

Honorary Associate Professor John Mack and Barry Walsh of the School of Mathematics and Statistics examined data of all Year 8 students in NSW to show the proportion who go on to study maths or science subject combinations for their HSC. 

The data revealed there was a substantial increase in the number of girls studying no maths at all in the HSC, and also showed a substantial drop overall in the number of boy and girl students undertaking at least one maths and one science subject in the HSC.

"The decline in maths and science participation coincided with the removal in 2001 of the HSC requirement for at least one course in maths or science," says Dr Rachel Wilson from the Faculty of Education and Social Work, who helped prepare the report.

"It is not a requirement in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia; although it is compulsory in SA, and to a small extent in Queensland and the Northern Territory. The study calls for policy change to make these subjects mandatory in order to lift participation in high school and to attract more girls to maths and science."

The figures show that in 2001, 9.5% of girls undertook no mathematics course for their HSC. In 2011, this figure was 21.8% - more than double.

In the same period the total proportion of Year 8 girls who went on to study intermediate or advanced maths dropped from 25% to 18%.

In terms of undertaking science and maths the study also showed that only 1.5% of girls and 4.4% of boys go on to study advanced maths with both physics and chemistry.

In 2001 19.7% of boys and 16.8%  of girls studied a math-science combination in the HSC. In 2011 these figures had dropped to 18.6% of boys and 13.8% of girls. The decline has occurred despite the fact that HSC participation increased by 5% over the period.

This analysis suggests there is an urgent need to address declining female participation and stagnated male participation in intermediate/advanced maths-and-science combinations of study.

The proportion of girls studying such combination subjects has dwindled since 2001 and there is now a greater gender disparity in maths/sciences participation than there was in the 1980s.

* * *

Read what Sue Brown, 'veteran' high school maths teacher, wrote about this issue early last month.

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muneer ahmed says: 2020 12 06

Your blogs are easily accessible and quite enlightening so keep doing the amazing work guys. Normal Heights Barber

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