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Push for maths curriculum overhaul as Australian kids fall behind

3AW Mornings
Article image for Push for maths curriculum overhaul as Australian kids fall behind

There is a growing push for changes to be made to the maths curriculum, as Australian kids fall behind their counterparts in other countries.

Leading maths and science groups including the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, and the Australian Academy of Science, have signed a joint statement calling for a greater focus on problem-solving skills.

International test scores from more than 70 countries show Australia has had the greatest decline in math skills of any country, except Finland, since 2003.

National Partnerships and Engagement Manager at the Australian Mathematics Trust, Janine Sprakel, says while most of the curriculum is valuable, there is some room for improvement.

“I don’t know that there’s a lot in the curriculum that’s redundant. I think a lot of it, it’s not going to be applied directly in your life, but the neither are a lot of other things,” she told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

“What problem solving can teach a child is that … capacity to take the knowledge they’ve got and apply it in new situations.”

Ms Sprakel says maths can be “made interesting for everybody”.

“We all use it on a daily basis, we just don’t realise we do,” she said.

Australia’s draft new national curriculum will be released for public consultation on April 29.

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