This is an unsurprising, though devastating, result.
Our “race to the middle” culture which has been brought about by the measure of success in secondary schools being a broad count of A* – C grades, has unfortunately encouraged teachers to ignore their brightest students, and focus instead on those on the D/C border.
Like a government that might target it’s policies at marginal constituencies, teachers have targeted the “marginal’ students at the detriment of those children who are sure-fire C’s, B’s or A’s, but who are not yet fulfilling their potential.
Now that attention is being drawn to this problem, let us hope that it will lead to a shift in government educational policy.
Euclid (Book 1, Definition 22)
“Of quadrilateral figures, a square is that which is both equilateral and right-angled; an oblong that which is right-angled but not equilateral; a rhombus that which is equilateral but not right-angled; and a rhomboid that which has opposite sides and angles equal to one another but is neither equilateral nor right angled. And let quadrilaterals other than these be called trapezia.”
Different Types of Quadrilaterals
RECTANGLE is a four-sided shape with four right angles, and includes:
SQUARE which has four right angles AND four equal sides
OBLONG which has four right angles BUT two pairs of equal sides (not four equal sides)
RHOMBUS is a four-sided shape with four equal sides BUT no right-angles
RHOMBOID is a four-sided shape with two pairs of equal sides, and opposite angles are equal (also a PARALLELOGRAM)
TRAPEZIUM is a four-sided shape with one pair of parallel sides (called a TRAPEZOID in America!)
TRAPEZOID is a four-sided shape with no parallel sides (called a TRAPEZIUM in America!)
There has been some disagreement in terms of where the UK fits in with other countries for performance in maths. This current report is encouraging in the sense that our position is not as bad as we have suspected it to be.
However, we are still dropping down the international league, which cannot be a good thing. As we are now part of a more globalised economy, it matters more how our children compare with other children in the world. We cannot be content to just consider national statistics, and achievement in the context of our own nation.
Johnny Ball answers the question posed by a young girl: What number comes before infinity?
There appears to be a growing consensus that the standard of maths education in the UK needs to be improved. We have a great awareness within our nation, of how schools compare to each other, due to League Tables. However, there is very little awareness of how we compare nationally, with other developed countries.
As the internet age progresses, and it becomes easier for companies to spread their workloads internationally, we must ensure that our children are able to compete for jobs. Not only has the technology era caused this ability to share work across countries, but it has also increased demand for mathematical skills. This means that our education system has a three-pronged problem:
- Our maths skills as a nation are getting worse compared with other developed nations
- The internet age is enabling companies to employ the best and brightest from other countries when the skills are not available in the UK
- There is an increased demand for mathematical skills