Use of data
A number of reports recommend ways in which data could be used to improve the state of mathematics education. Whereas most of these relate to improving understanding of the subject and career choices young people make, some also related to the teaching of mathematics.
In terms for the choices young people make, the Parliamentary office, the Royal Society and Nuffield recommend using data in more effective ways to understand skills shortage areas, potential for changing subject status and pathways groups of students are likely to follow. (Hodgen, Marks, & Pepper, 2013; Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, 2013; Royal Society, 2011). The parliamentary office further recommends that STEM post graduates are tracked so that their destinations are better understood.
The recommendations related to teaching include the better use of data to understand the performance of learners (Ofsted, 2011, 2012).
A number of recommendations relate to possible future research. One key area is research into why young people do and do not choose to study STEM subjects or to pursue careers in STEM and to better understand what careers young people do choose instead of STEM careers (Harris, 2012; Ofsted, 2012; Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, 2013; Royal Society, 2011).
For example, Harris (2012) recommends:
More should be done by the STEM sector to identify why a large number of people with STEM degrees choose not to work in the subject (p. 40).
Related to this, the Nuffield report into post-16 mathematics recommends that research is needed into the effectiveness of different approaches to advising and guiding young people about the benefits of studying mathematics (Hodgen et al., 2013).
Other recommendations suggest that research is needed into the numbers of post-16 mathematics teachers that will be needed, where they might come from, and what the knock-on effects might (Hodgen et al., 2013).
Harris, J. (2012). Rational Numbers. London.
Hodgen, J., Marks, R., & Pepper, D. (2013). Towards universal participation in post-16 mathematics : lessons from high-performing countries. London.
Ofsted. (2011). Tackling the challenge of low numeracy skills in young people and adults. Manchester.
Ofsted. (2012). Mathematics : made to measure. Manchester.
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. (2013). STEM education for 14-19 year olds. London.
Royal Society. (2011). Preparing for the transfer from school and college science and mathematics education to UK STEM higher education. London.