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    New South Wales high school students turning down maths in the droves

    Are our kids dumber than ever? Less students are taking maths classes than ever before in their last years of high school – despite the government making it compulsory

    • New data showed fewer Year 12 students sit for maths exam this year than 2000
    • Only 76 per cent of students will take the test compared to 94 per cent in NSW
    • Advanced Mathematics and Extension One enrolments are lower than in 2010  
    • Lower enrolments come despite maths becoming mandatory for Year 11 and 12 

    More and more high school students are turning away from mathematics in their most important years of school, with enrolment lower than it was 20 years ago. 

    New South Wales Education Standards Authority revealed there were fewer Year 12 students sitting a maths test for their Higher School Certificate this year than in 2000.

    Only 76 per cent of students will take some form of a maths test, compared to 94 per cent, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. 

    The figure comes despite the State Government announcing last year mathematics would be mandatory for all Year 11 and Year 12 students. 

    Although the subject is compulsory, students still have a choice of whether they want to study maths during their HSC.

    More and more senior high school students are turning away from mathematics courses with enrolment lower than it was 20 years ago, according to new data (stock image)

    The figure comes despite the State Government announcing last year mathematics would be mandatory for all Year 11 and Year 12 students (stock image)

    The figure comes despite the State Government announcing last year mathematics would be mandatory for all Year 11 and Year 12 students (stock image)

    The new data shows the incentive has had little impact with Advanced Mathematics and Extension One enrolments at significantly lower levels than in 2010. 

    The number of students taking advanced mathematics was 16,966 then, compared to 17,513 now. 

    Extension One mathematics had only 9,060 enrolments, down from 9,321.  

    NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has called on universities to make Maths a prerequisite for their courses.

    ‘I want to reverse the trend of fewer students studying maths,’ she said. 

    ‘Maths challenges our students’ to think critically and creatively, preparing them for whatever career they might choose after school.’  

    The data shows that mathematics is not a prerequisite for a staggering number of degrees offered at New South Wales universities.

    Only six per cent of economics and commerce courses, eight per cent of health and medical sciences courses, four per cent of science and computer science courses and nine per cent of engineering courses have maths as a prerequisite. 

    The University of Sydney is one of the few universities that reintroduced maths as a prerequisite for a number of its courses in 2019

    The University of Sydney is one of the few universities that reintroduced maths as a prerequisite for a number of its courses in 2019

    The University of Sydney is one of the few universities that reintroduced maths as a prerequisite for a number of its courses in 2019.       

    Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute policy officer Maaike Wienk said students were not prepared if they wanted to pursue a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics degree at university.

    ‘There’s an increasing gap between the way they are prepared for these subjects in university and what they do in high school.

    ‘It’s really important that students in high school get the right information about the importance of studying maths.’

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