Sunday 18 February 2018

Why we cannot afford to turn our backs on the logic of maths

This year sets a new low for the number of students registered to take maths at higher level, writes Andrew McKimm

The number of students registered to take higher level maths in the Leaving Certificate this year is the lowest ever. Figures show just 10,435 candidates had registered to take the exam last Friday, the lowest figure recorded by the State Exams Commission.

It is also expected that the number of candidates who actually sat the higher level paper last Friday could fall below the record low of 2007. One in five students drops down from higher to ordinary level maths on the morning of the exam. In 2007, 10,457 students were registered to sit higher level maths but only 8,388 took the higher level paper on the day.

It has also been widely reported that in the international OECD rankings at the end of last year, the performance of Irish teenagers in maths fell from 16th to 26th place, the second steepest decline among participating countries. Ireland is now ranked as below average in maths.

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