Maths is flawed

10 November 2011

“Maths education will always be flawed until schools, universities and employers agree on what maths skills they really want from young people”, says head of UK exam board.

Speaking today at a summit on maths, Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of OCR, said: "Maths means different things to different people. Some say it's all about numeracy - the facility to add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers, with perhaps, a little bit of percentages thrown in - whereas others equate maths with arithmetic - the art of calculation. Some believe 'real maths' helps unpick the secrets of the universe. Whichever it is, the system clearly isn't delivering.”

"Too many students do not acquire the maths skills that society demands which means they can't enjoy mathematics or take it into further education, the workplace or use it in everyday life. We want to know; what 'real world maths' means to teachers and employers; do we need to be teaching arithmetic and number manipulation or is computer based maths the future; and most importantly, how do we engage students in maths in the first place?”

The maths summit, hosted by computerbasedmath.org - a project to build a completely new math curriculum centred around computer-based calculation, founded by Conrad Wolfram - takes places on 10-11 November at the Royal Institution in London.

To inform OCR's action on mathematics education, the exam board is currently gathering views from schools and colleges around the country. It has also set up a new maths council with its sister exam board within Cambridge Assessment - University of Cambridge International Examinations - to gain national and international guidance to inform its vision for maths.

OCR is dedicated to helping teachers and students make the most of a passion for maths. It creates carefully-planned Mathematics qualifications for students of all ages and abilities, including GCSE, Free Standing Maths Qualification and A Levels. They're qualifications that employers, colleges and universities recognise and value.