Friday, June 24, 2011


JUNE 2011

"This report is about the mathematics that we need, as a nation, in order to ensure that we are able to fulfil the demands that we face, whether they be economic, intellectual or societal.

A few years ago, ACME decided to investigate the mathematics needed by various end users, including the learners themselves. It was felt that, in the face of a rapidly changing world, there was a need for a proper audit of the mathematical requirements of Higher Education and employers. This raised the related question of whether these end users’ needs are matched by the mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding currently acquired by students at school and college. However these questions could not be isolated from the learning needs of students, as they progress through school. Are their needs different from those of employment and Higher Education? Can both be reconciled? And could this evidence be used to help inform education policy?

These are some of the questions we set out to answer at the beginning of this project. This short summary document provides an overview of two reports produced as part of this project: Mathematics in the workplace and in Higher Education and The Mathematical Needs of Learners. We hope that the findings from both reports will provide a solid evidence base to inform the government’s education policy. In a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical skills, we need to ensure young people are not only equipped with the requisite skills to function competently in the worlds of employment and higher education, but also that they are confident with their own mathematical knowledge and ability.

Our report highlights a range of findings and recommendations relating to mathematics which we hope the government and its agencies will take into account when deciding on the best education policy to implement not only relating to mathematics education, but to a whole range of other subjects, many of which are highly dependent on mathematics in various ways. Communication and concerted action between different stakeholders such as government, schools and colleges, employers, universities and learned societies will be crucial if we are to ensure that we meet our mathematical needs in the future."

(By) Professor Dame Julia Higgings  FRS  FREng, Chair of Acme


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