This survey is part of the Institute of Education‘s work for The Royal Society project “Vision for Science and Mathematics Education 5-19”. A quote:
The Royal Society’s objectives include support for the development of a world class education system in science and mathematics as a contribution both to research and to UK economic competitiveness. The current research is aimed at helping to redress identified shortcomings in current provision relating to teachers and the science and mathematics workforce, leadership and ethos within schools and colleges, infrastructure and accountability.
What surprises me is that such issues as subject knowledge and mathematical competence of mathematics teachers are not even mentioned in the survey. Look at relevant questions in the survey — they do not mention that!
Press release from the Department of Education. A quote:
Our classrooms are now staffed by high-achieving maths graduates according to the latest figures released from the Teaching Agency (TA). Data reveals that almost one in five maths graduates are becoming teachers. In addition, for the first time, over half of new maths trainee teachers have upper second-class degrees, or better .
The data, from the Higher Education Statistical Unit, shows that 18.5 per cent of maths graduates surveyed three and a half years after graduating chose to go into teaching. TA’s own data also shows that the proportion of maths graduates entering training with a 2:1 degree or better has risen from 44 per cent to 51 per cent in just three years.
From Notes to Editors:
Analysis of the HESA data was carried out by HECSU on behalf of the Teaching Agency. The Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) survey is the official biannual follow-up to the annual national survey. It examines the careers of a sample of UK graduates, 3.5 years after they have graduated, and is designed to give a longer-term insight into the early career progression of graduates. [...] The census data is available online.
A post by Jon Borwein and David H. Bailey in The Conversation. A quote:
Pedagogy and mathematics
It is undeniably important that mathematics teachers have mastered the topics they need to teach. The new Australian national curriculum is misguidedly increasing the amount of “statistics” of the school mathematics curriculum from less that 10% to as much as 40%. Many teachers are far from ready for the change.
But more often than not, the problem is not the mathematical expertise of the teachers. Pedagogical narrowness is a greater problem. Telling that there is a correct idea in a wrong solution to a problem on fractions requires unpacking of elementary concepts in a way that even an expert mathematician is not usually trained to do.
One of us – Jon – learned this only too well when he first taught future elementary school teachers their final university mathematics course.
Australian teachers at an elite private school could not understand one of Jon’s daughter’s Canadian long-division method nor her solution techniques for many advanced school topics. She got mediocre marks during the year because of this.
27.1 per cent of teachers leading mathematics classes in the current academic year fail to hold a degree in the subject, up from 26 per cent 12 months earlier. Data for 2010 and 2011 can be found in Tables 13 of DfE documents SFR 6/2011 and SFR 06/2012.
The same can be seen across all subjects: “hard” are up, “soft are down. Source: Hansard, Written Answers to Questions, Tuesday 27 March 2012, Columns 1037W and 1038W.