HSC maths enrollments flatline over the decade
March 24, 2021
Original Article: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/we-ve-bottomed-out-hsc-maths-enrolments-flatline-over-the-decade-20201013-p564k5.html
The number of students taking senior school maths has flatlined over the past 10 years, suggesting mathematics participation has "bottomed out" and universities may need to insist on the subject as a prerequisite to lift enrolments.
About one quarter of year 12 students over the decade did not take any HSC mathematics course, compared to just 6 per cent of students who opted out of maths altogether in 2000, figures provided by the NSW Education Standards Authority show. Of those HSC students who will sit their maths exams this week, more than half (30,757) are taking the standard non-calculus course.
Enrolments in advanced mathematics (16,966) and extension 1 (9060) are lower than they were 10 to 15 years ago despite today's larger overall HSC cohort.
The stagnant interest in HSC maths comes in spite of the NSW government's maths strategy which aims to increase the number of students studying mathematics in their final years of school, as well as the proportion studying higher level HSC mathematics, by 2025.
It also poses difficulties for the federal government's goal of producing more university STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates.
There has been a spike this year in students taking the highest level extension 2 maths HSC exam, making it the largest cohort in eight years (3418), but it is still below the number of students who took extension 2 in 2010 (3529).