Citizen’s Maths is a MOOC project funded by the Ufi Charitable Trust. It
is led by Calderdale College with CogBooks, the Institute of Education,
http://goo.gl/RexVLv is a call for maths teachers to express an interest
in working with Citizens’ Maths as “to camera” tutors.
The deadline for responses is Thursday 5/12/2013.
Please spread the call as widely as you wish.
From the Department for Education:
Following the GCSE subject content consultation that closed on 20 August 2013, the Secretary of State has today published revised subject content for English language, English literature and mathematics, as well as the Government’s response to the consultation. The Secretary of State has also made a Written Ministerial Statement, which can be read here.
Ofqual has also published reforms to the design requirements for new GCSEs, including on arrangements for controlled assessment, tiering and new grading. Its summary of these reforms can be found here.
The Rt Hon. David Willetts MP has just published a pamphlet with the Social Market Foundation called Robbins Revisited: Bigger and Better Higher Education. Here are quotes where he mentions mathematics.
Women are still under-represented in sciences (maths and physics) and the applied sciences (computing, engineering, technology and architecture), but the margin has narrowed from the 1960s when only three per cent of students studying “applied science” were women. (p.26)
We want scientists with an awareness of historical context; historians with the maths to handle statistics; mathematicians who can speak another language. (p.50)
Nonetheless, there is an important distinction to be made between the need for breadth in general, and the need for maths skills in particular. In an interview with The Listener in 1967 Robbins was asked why the numbers opting for applied and pure sciences had fallen below expectations. He blamed what he called “the terror of mathematics”, caused by poor teaching and a preoccupation in university maths departments with producing “aces”.
This issue has not gone away. Last year the Lords Science and Technology Committee expressed its shock that many Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) undergraduates lacked the mathematical skills required to cope with their course at university. The National Audit Office has warned that this is an issue for student retention (pp. 50-51)
Maths is a core part of science and engineering subjects – but it comes into many others. As Liz Truss argues with great passion, it is the universal analytical tool which matters more and more in today’s higher education. It matters to the politics student who has to grapple with difficult statistical data, or the nursing student performing a drug calculation. And after leaving university many graduates will find themselves faced with numerical reasoning tests when competing for jobs. Yet only 16 per cent of undergraduates studying subjects other than maths have an A-level in maths under their belt. Often they will have forgotten much of what they once knew, and even if they haven’t, their confidence in their own abilities may be low. (p.51)
This is why Michael Gove’s moves to ensure that everyone continues some level of mathematical study until the age of 18 are so important. Another important initiative is “sigma”, a Hefce funded project. It is establishing approachable maths support services at institutions across the country. Thanks to their work, politics students suddenly confronted with a regression analysis have someone to turn to. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) undergraduates too are receiving expert support to bring their maths skills up to speed. (p.52-52)
GeoGebra conference in 2014. We will meet in Budapest, Hungary on 23-25 January 2014 for a promising conference: http://events.geogebra.org/budapest2014/
Plenary talks will be delivered by Markus Hohenwarter, Zsolt Lavicza , Celina Abar, Tomas Recio, and Balazs Koren. Also, there will be parallel sessions with talks and workshops.
The deadline for abstract submission is 1 December and registration is already open:
http://events.geogebra.org/budapest2014/registration/ Payment methods will be announced later, but register for early bird fees and to receive further information.
If you have any questions please contact Balazs Koren (email@example.com), Zsolt Lavicza (firstname.lastname@example.org) and email@example.com
Dominic Cummings, the former special adviser to the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, published a 237 page document, Some thoughts on education and political priorities. It is a very interesting paper, and it is much concerned with mathematics education and deserves attention from the mathematical community — even if some readers might find some points raised controversial.
The paper is written by a thoughtful and well-informed person who is passionate about mathematics and mathematics education. However, the paper’s most striking feature is that it bears the hallmarks of “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:23). The pages overflow with untested (although frequently brilliant) ideas, that have apparently blossomed outside any structurally sound referential framework. These 237 pages effectively document the absence of a proper public discourse on mathematics education policy.
And it is something we should not blame Dominic Cummings for; it is we in mathematics education community who are largely responsible for the silence that replaces policy discussions relating to mathematics education in this country.
The De Morgan Forum and The De Morgan Gazette have been set up with the aim to provide a space for voicing opinions — and maybe raising controversies — about issues in education policy which affect mathematics. Despite 500,000 hits over the last two years and some excellent papers and curriculum documents published in The De Morgan Gazette, we are still far from reaching this objective. We wish to invite the readers to face the challenge and use Dominic Cummings’ paper as an opportunity for a well-informed discussion of mathematics education.
A research announcement from the Institute of Education:
Dr Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown [...] analysed the reading behaviour of approximately 6,000 young people being followed by the 1970 British Cohort Study.
[...] reading for pleasure was found to be more important for children’s cognitive development between ages 10 and 16 than their parents’ level of education.
Dr Sullivan notes that reading for pleasure had the strongest effect on children’s vocabulary development, but the impact on spelling and maths was still significant. “It may seem surprising that reading for pleasure would help to improve children’s maths scores,” she said. “But it is likely that strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information and affect their attainment in all subjects.” [...]
‘Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading’, by Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown, is the latest paper to be published in the CLS Working Paper Series.
The new National Curriculum is published today.
A further consultation on the programmes of study for key stage 4 English, mathematics and science will follow, in line with the timetable for the reform of GCSE qualifications.
The majority of the new national curriculum will come into force from September 2014, so schools will now have a year to prepare to teach it. From September 2015, the new national curriculum for English, mathematics and science will come into force for years 2 and 6; English, mathematics and science for key stage 4 will be phased in from September 2015.
Mathematics in British Universities with their world rank according to QS World University Rankings by Subject 2013
1 University of Cambridge
5 University of Oxford
12= Imperial College London (shared with Caltech and U. Toronto)
23 The University of Warwick
38 University of Bristol
46= The University of Manchester (shared with Nanyang and Auckland)
51-100 King’s College London
51-100 The University of Nottingham
51-100 University College London
51-100 University of Edinburgh
51-100 University of Leeds
101-150 University of Glasgow
101-150 University of Southampton
151-200 London School of Economics
151-200 Queen Mary University of London
151-200 University of Bath
151-200 University of Birmingham