Urgent action is needed over maths, say experts, as survey reveals image problem

Something must be done to increase take-up of the subject at Higher level, experts in Scotland warn, as a poll shows pupils’ deep-seated dislike of the subject

The latest figures show a growing gulf between the number of entries for Higher maths – which have increased by just 2 per cent since 2010 – and English, which have risen by 20 per cent.

There are concerns this gap will continue to widen, in part because of last year’s exams debacle, when the Scottish Qualifications Authority was forced to admit that maths Higher was too difficult.

The increase in assessment at National level may also be putting young people off pursuing the subject at Higher, a report published by the government’s maths task force says today.

‘Negative feelings’

The group, Making Maths Count, calls for all new teachers to have a maths Higher – to put the subject on an equal footing with English.

The report includes a new survey that reveals the negative feelings that maths can prompt in pupils – from boredom to anxiety and stress. Its authors say that “improving confidence” in the subject is a top priority.

Maureen McKenna, chair of Making Maths Count, said more needed to be done to promote a “growth mindset” towards maths.

This is an edited version of an article in the 18 March edition of TESS. Subscribers can view the full article here. This week’s TESS magazine is available at all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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