Maths Scholars Who Canot Add Up Teaching Adds Up to a Scandal

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), February 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Maths Scholars Who Canot Add Up Teaching Adds Up to a Scandal


Byline: Alison Brace

THE appalling lack of basic arithmetic skills among qualified school-leavers is revealed today.

Figures passed to The Mail on Sunday show how youngsters who gained a grade C or above in GCSE maths cannot do simple sums.

Half of the `high-achievers' could not subtract 1,698 from 3,091, four out of ten could not calculate 10 per cent of [pounds sterling]475, and more than a third could not divide 1,025 by 25.

Nearly one in five could not say how many one tenths there are in a whole. Those who had passed maths - but with a lower grade - achieved even worse results.

Last night MPs and senior educationists were outraged by the evidence and called for action.

Our disclosure comes as Chief Inspector of Schools Chris Woodhead prepares to announce a full-scale inquiry into maths teaching in Britain's 34,000 primary and secondary schools. It will begin this autumn in three local authorities.

The results come from a simple test - designed for 12-year-olds - given to 500 16-year-olds starting further education courses at Bracknell and Wokingham College in Berkshire.

Among those pupils who passed GCSE maths with lower grades, 75 per cent could not work out three-eighths of [pounds sterling]160, and a quarter could not even add 3,965 and 299. …

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