Solving the maths problem: International perspectives on mathematics education (report) - RSA

Solving the maths problem: International perspectives on mathematics education


  • Education and learning

Building on the recent report by Carol Vorderman into the future of English mathematics, 'Solving the maths problem' draws on international examples of best practice to lay out guiding principles behind future mathematics reform.

A range of research studies have been undertaken to examine the problems that beset the study of mathematics in England. Drawing on some of the most recent studies, they conclude that broadly four factors influence attainment and progression. Firstly, a growing culture of performativity in schools; secondly, curriculum content that does not correspond to learner needs; thirdly, progression pathways that do not respond to learner needs; and finally a lack of specialist teachers.

The challenges for mathematics achievement and progression in England therefore centre on assessment, curriculum, pathways and teaching at two key periods of education: GCSE and upper secondary education.

This report recommends the following:

  • The development of more effective CPD for curriculum leaders in order to support the design of curricula.

  • Supporting high-achieving students to develop greater facility for algebra by age 16 and for this to be reflected and incentivised through assessment.

  • Further scrutiny of qualifications. 


Picture of Emma Norris
Emma Norris

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