The national forum on Assumed Knowledge in Maths: its broad impact on tertiary STEM programs held in February this year at the University of Sydney, has issued a communique outlining the key concerns raised by participants.
The communique has been sent to the Minister for Education and Universities Australia, as well as peak science, business and mathematics bodies. A Media Release was issued on Wednesday 27th August and received coverage in the Australian.
The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education is being held at the University of Sydney and UTS from 29th – 1st October this year. The conference provides a great opportunity to find out how others are developing new approaches to teaching tertiary science and maths. The discipline day on Wednesday 1st October is at UTS and involves workshops and presentations that focus on discipline specific issues and teaching practices. Each discipline organises a separate program. The discipline day is FREE to register.
The mathematics session on the discipline day will provide practical information on the outcomes from recent projects. The FYiMaths project will be hosting a session on the future of the mathematics network.
To register for the conference and/or the discipline day go to the conference website.
In speaking to over a 100 academics and teachers involved in teaching undergraduate mathematics we have found that maths phobia and anxiety is a major barrier to students’ learning and can result in high failure and attrition rates. Women in particular struggle to overcome self doubt about their mathematical ability.
With women still under- represented in the sciences and engineering and achieving lower results than boys in mathematics, there are many who are working to address the imbalance.
We came across this advertisement targeted at girls, that is reinforcing the kind of negative messages about maths that are so hard to shift. We contacted the company and their response was:
'The basis of truth for our attempt at humour here is that many people find maths a real
challenge, regardless of gender. That said, we can appreciate yours is one possible interpretation of the message'
There is a great deal of evidence that gender stereotypes regarding maths still affects girls interest, performance and continuing study in maths. Studies have shown that the negative stereotypes women absorb about maths, do impact on their performance.
We felt it was important to bring this advertising to your attention. If you would like to provide feedback to the company we encourage you to contact them directly.
National Vocational Education and Training Research Program (NVETR)
Request for Research Proposals
NCVER, on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, seeks high quality researchers to conduct research relevant to the contemporary tertiary education and training environment.
Research projects should be pertinent to policy and the operations of the tertiary education sector.
This funding round is seeking proposals under three specific topic areas:
- Quality, flexibility and responsiveness within the training system
- The role of employers and industry in on-the-job skills formation and structured training arrangements
- Impact of changing economic conditions on individuals and the role of training
Funding for several research projects in the vicinity of $75,000 to $100,000 per project is available through a competitive selection process. For more information go to: http://www.ncver.edu.au
Deb King writes in the Conversation today about what it means to make maths compulsory and why it probably isn’t the best way to increase maths skills