Vorderman report on mathematics education published
'A world-class mathematics education for all our young people' concludes that major alterations in maths education are critical or we risk our future economic prosperity, and there should be compulsory maths in some form until the age of 18.
The report also argues that the problems many young people experience in their maths education become entrenched during primary and the early years of secondary school. A child's mathematical 'career' is effectively determined by the age of 11. 90% of those who fail to achieve the SAT target (Level 4) at age 11 will go on to 'fail' GCSE. Conversely, 94% of those who surpass the target (Level 5) will 'pass' GCSE.
Key recommendations include:
- the present system for GCSE Mathematics, based on a single award, is not fit for purpose and should be replaced by one offering two GCSEs as soon as possible
- the growing practice of entering students early to obtain a mere passing grade in order to improve the school's league table position' should be strongly discouraged
- to bring this country into line with the rest of the world, mathematics, in some form, should be made compulsory to the age of 18
- university departments offering degrees in STEM subjects should consider increasing the level of mathematics in their offers and the advice they provide to applicants
- the examination boards should be accountable to a Mathematics Steering Committee drawn from stakeholders including the mathematics subject community, employers, higher and further education and the government
- the new Ofsted Framework must ensure that the quality of mathematics education is inspected and reported fully in all primary and secondary schools. Each inspection team must contain at least one inspector who is qualified to inspect mathematics.