Census show Mixed Results for Science and Maths in English Schools

U.S. Research Suggest English School Children doing Better in Maths but Slipping When it Comes to Science

In today’s busy world where UK based businesses are having to compete in a truly global market place, governments and educational institutions are eager to see how their country’s pupils fare when compared to students from other nations.  There are a number of studies undertaken, most are published either annually or every two years.  In research published by U.S. based academics, pupils from England are showing signs of improving in mathematics, but their national ranking in the sciences is falling.

The research, compiled by academics at Boston College in the United States covers the results from two influential studies, the four-yearly trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, known by the acronym TIMSS and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).  The American research team have compared the results in key subjects from pupils in over sixty countries.  Northern Ireland is doing particularly well when the attainments of primary school children are examined, whilst England is still in the top ten countries for primary and secondary mathematics.

The highest rankings in this global education league table have been taken by Asian countries and reflect the growing emphasis on the education of children in rapidly growing economies.  The UK Census from 2011, may show that more citizens of the United Kingdom have a degree than ever before but when the efforts of younger pupils are analysed it is the students from Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea that take the honours when it comes to doing best at maths.

England remains in the global top ten for mathematics, 9th for primary school aged pupils and 10th when it comes to secondary aged students.  The study highlights England as being one of the most improved countries in terms of mathematics over the last fifteen years or so, however, the outlook for the sciences is nowhere near as rosy.

English school pupils fall from 7th place (ranking in 2007) to 15th amongst primary aged school pupils (ten-year-olds) for science.  In secondary aged pupils this trend was also seen, with fourteen-year-olds falling from 5th down to 9th over the same five year period.

The Top Ranked Countries for Attainment in Primary School Science

  1. South Korea
  2. Singapore
  3. Finland
  4. Japan
  5. Russian Federation
  6. Taiwan
  7. United States of America
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Hungary

15.  England (down from 7th place)

Report author and Boston College professor, Michael Martin commented that the best-performing countries in these league tables are a reflection of the long-term investments in education made by governments.

Professor Martin stated:

“One thing you can learn from these is what’s possible.  That comes as a shock sometimes, what students in other countries can actually do and the gap sometimes between what your students are achieving and what students in other countries are achieving”.

England ranks relatively highly, despite slipping in science, it is pleasing to see the ranking in mathematics is still holding up when one considers the rapid globalisation and development in other countries, particularly those in the Far East.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur, one of the teachers in the company who helps write lesson plans for primary school education providers stated:

“It is important to praise the efforts of the teachers, the teaching assistants and administrators who work extremely hard to deliver excellent teaching schemes helping to inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists.”

Everything Dinosaur team members committed to helping fellow teachers.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A good grounding in maths and science subjects is very important for school pupils, especially when one considers the future jobs market.  Helping young children learn about science principles such as observation, investigation and evaluation through their fascination with dinosaurs is a key aim of Everything Dinosaur’s teaching staff.

Today, Everything Dinosaur team members provided information on swimming dinosaurs, fact sheets, discussed Plesiosaurs, the evolution of the Dinosauria – just some of the range of subjects covered when contacted by school teachers, museum staff etc.   All in a days work!

 

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