Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Maths - in the Spotlight: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Maths - in the Spotlight: Resources

Article excerpt

Maths for the 21st century

On 6 January, the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) delivered a paper at the University of Liverpool questioning mathematical need in the workplace and higher education.

The paper cites the importance of maths in today's society, from the problem-solving skills needed for management jobs to the knowledge of models and algorithms required to understand computer software. Also, many industries depend on quantitative data: even careers that were once solely creative now demand mathematical skill, and the more our society shifts to technological formats, the more maths needs to return to the focus. In an increasingly technological environment, a calculator is no longer an excuse for not knowing maths.

The ACME paper raises some important issues.

- Teaching should not focus on uncontextualised maths: pupils should understand how they can transfer skills to problem-solving situations.

- Students should be encouraged to continue with maths to high levels; focus should be diverted from league tables. …

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