Arab Today, arab today alevel maths content \being dumbed down\
Last Updated : GMT 22:28:13
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

A-level maths content \'being dumbed down\'

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today A-level maths content \'being dumbed down\'

London - Arabstoday

Researchers warned that qualifications in subjects such as the sciences, economics, business studies and computing were failing to prepare teenagers for the demands of university or the workplace. In a report, it was claimed that maths was a vital component of many other disciplines but it was often too easy or featured in a “very limited way”. Just four per cent of marks in some A-level economics exams and two per cent of marks in business studies papers required maths, the study found. Academics are now calling for a dramatic toughening up of the subjects as part of a sweeping review of A-levels. It comes just weeks after Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, outlined plans to give universities complete control over setting syllabuses and exam questions in the traditional “gold standard” qualification. Anthony Tomei, director of the Nuffield Foundation, which contributed towards the research, said, “It is a common complaint from higher education that students come unprepared for the quantitative demands of their subjects, so the question of what mathematics should be required in A-level teaching is important.” Two separate report published on Friday analysed the maths content of nine A-level subjects, saying a grasp of issues such as statistics was vital. One study by the Science Community Representing Education (Score) – a group of learned bodies – looked at biology, chemistry and physics. Another report from the Nuffied Foundation analysed exams in business studies, computing, economics, geography, psychology and sociology. In the first study, experts said that areas of maths which underpin scientific ideas were missing from the exams. The report raised concerns that competition between exam boards prevented them setting papers or assessments \"that might appear difficult, for example by including more and more challenging mathematical content.\" Prof Graham Hutchings, chairman of Score, said the finding were \"worrying\". \"Mathematics enables students to understand and describe many scientific phenomena,” he said. \"Without learning some mathematical techniques, students are missing out on gaining a full understanding of the scientific ideas.\" The second study found huge variations in the maths content of papers set by different boards. For business studies, pupils needed maths for between two and 36 per cent of marks, depending on the exam. Maths was needed for between four and 14 per cent of economics papers and 10 to 20 per cent of geography exams. The conclusions will add to growing concerns over the state of maths education in Britain. A study earlier this year found almost half of British adults have the maths skills of an 11-year-old or worse, leaving them struggling to manage family finances, calculate change and use transport timetables. It follows a campaign by The Daily Telegraph to highlight the mathematical crisis facing Britain and equip parents with the tools to boost children’s basic skill levels. A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We need to keep A-levels robust, rigorous and relevant to match the best education systems in the world and to keep pace with universities’ demands. “That is why we believe universities should have greater involvement in the design and development of A-level qualifications.”

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