New research ‘The Employment Equation: Why our young people need more Maths for today’s jobs’ commissioned by the Sutton Trust, makes it clear that having a good grade in GCSE Mathematics doesn’t mean you have the practical mathematical skills needed in today’s workplace.
Researchers – Professor Jeremy Hodgen and Dr Rachel Marks, King’s College, London – reviewed over 50 studies to examine the maths needed at work. Today’s workforce - everyone from paediatric nurses to mortgage advisers – needs skills in mental arithmetic, estimation and approximation, reasoning, using calculators, interpreting spreadsheets, tables, graphs and diagrams. Young people are taught these skills in GCSE Maths but this doesn’t mean that they know how to apply them.
All young people shouldn’t just stop at GCSE, they need to keep developing their mathematics and statistical skills. This being the case, those not taking A-level Maths need more options and that’s what this new research recommends – a new qualification which will provide 16-18 year olds who are not taking A-level Maths with core fluency, modelling and statistical skills.
The Royal Statistical Society has been calling for such a qualification for a while now and it’s great to hear that students seem to be on board with the idea too. The findings of an Ipsos MORI poll of 2,595 11-16 year-olds, suggests that two-thirds of young people think that they should continue to learn Maths (and English) through to age 18. Right now only 20% of young people in England continue studying maths post 16 – elsewhere across the developed world, the majority do so.