Very Concerning Survey Result On Science And Maths In Schools

National’s proposed re-focus on literacy and numeracy could not be better timed.  This survey which puts us behind countries such as Kazakhstan is deeply worrying.  We are going to need more engineers and scientists to keep this economy innovating and growing in the future and it doesn’t look as though we are going to be producing that many from the current batch of year 5 students.  Let us hope that the results serve as a real wake-up call to the thousands of officials now working for the Ministry of Education

Primary school children’s science achievement has plummeted to its worst level in 14 years, sparking urgent action by the Education Ministry.

 

An international study shows New Zealand year 5 pupils are doing worse in maths and science than children in more than half the other 36 countries surveyed.

Business advocacy group Business New Zealand says the findings are deeply concerning. It said the country risked losing its competitive edge and ability to innovate without a workforce highly skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths.

“All the developed countries understand that those ‘stem skills’ are really critical, and the fact that we’re doing so poorly in them is a bit of a worry,” chief executive Phil O’Reilly said.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science study, released yesterday, shows maths achievement had improved significantly since 1994 but had plateaued since 2002.

Kiwi children’s maths and science results were significantly worse than other surveyed English-speaking countries, including England, Australia and the United States – though we fared marginally better than Scotland.

They also did worse than Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Latvia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Hungary and Kazakhstan.

The ministry said it planned to roll out new science-based teaching activities next year in a bid to improve results while analysing what went wrong.

“Clearly we need to take account of [the findings] and ask is that good enough, and I would say, `No, it’s not,’ ” ministry curriculum manager Mary Chamberlain said.

The study looks at 425,000 year 5 and 9 pupils every four years.

It says Kiwi teachers spend less time teaching maths than any other English-speaking country and annual science tuition hours fell by nearly a third between 2002 and 2006, from 66 to 45.

Mrs Chamberlain admitted the report’s findings were concerning, but said New Zealand was still in the “average band” overall.

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One Response to “Very Concerning Survey Result On Science And Maths In Schools”

  1. Caroline Says:

    The children are too busy going on class trips (woops – EOTC), having “Grandparents Day” and such like, being asked how they are getting on with the latest fund-raising project, and preparing for productions to spend enough time on the basics.

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