20 Years of Declining Maths Standards

January 28, 2020

Maths skills among Australian students have reached record lows after two decades of decline, according to recently released Programme for International Assessment (PISA) results.

PISA tests kids around the world every 3 years to assess ability in maths, reading and science. This year Australia ranked 29th in maths, 16th in reading and 17th in science from 79 countries. China and Singapore continued to top the tables in all categories.

Maths standards have been falling since PISA began in 2000. But the new rankings show Australian students’ maths skills have dropped to the OECD average for the first time.

What’s causing the decline in maths standards?

Australia’s maths problem has many variables. For example, 1 in 3 maths classes are taught by an out-of-field teacher. Another factor could be an outdated curriculum that fails to teach kids applicable skills.

The national decline is likely caused by a combination of factors adding up to students not being interested in maths, and therefore not testing at a level that tallies with our similarly developed neighbours.

What’s missing, according to PISA National Manager Sue Thompson, is a preparedness for the real world. Maths worksheets currently teach sums disconnected from real life.

Better basics: Practical maths skills for the future

Raising maths standards will involve a complex equation of Federal and State Government funding, teacher training, and a fresh approach to classroom maths teaching.

Teachers will play a large part in reversing the maths standards decline – but they need support. One major problem teachers face is the lack of practical maths worksheets that teach applicable skills and satisfy Australian Curriculum criteria.

That’s where Matharoo’s worded problems can help. Matharoo uses relevant, real-world examples to help primary teachers convey the importance of maths skills in everyday life.

With freshly written worksheets emailed weekly, ready for a busy week of lessons, Matharoo helps time-poor teachers find better ways to teach maths lessons.

Visit our website to find out why teachers, students and parents find Matharoo so valuable and sign up for a two-week trial.

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