A survey of 3000 pupils aged from seven to 18 for City & Guilds is reported by the BBC to have found that “maths lessons are seen as difficult, irrelevant and boring by about a third of teenagers” and that the subject could be “geared more towards real life”, but that “most agreed that maths would be useful once they had left school”.
The more detailed findings reported in the BBC article are that
69% of young people believed that as a subject, maths could help them become successful.
Among seven- to 11-year-olds, 85% agreed that maths would be useful once they left school – but a substantial minority of 16- to 18-year-olds said they found the subject boring (39%), difficult (36%) or irrelevant (30%).
Teenagers had clear ideas for how maths teaching could be improved, with 54% saying it should be geared more to practical scenarios.
Chris Jones of City & Guilds is quoted saying: “Our research shows young people are keen to learn maths and recognise the importance of the subject, but there needs to be more emphasis on the practical application of maths in schools to ensure young people have the skills employers need.”
A blog post on the website of King’s School Chester Mathematics Department by ‘NAS’ called the article “pretty special” on the “grumpy rant” scale. As well as describing how students at King’s view mathematics, ‘NAS’ says
I wonder if the author of this lazy article ever considered opening with “Maths lessons are seen as challenging, useful & rewarding by about two thirds of teenagers” instead.
There was the usual guff about the inherent lack of usefulness of Maths (“Somehow I doubt I’ll use trigonometry anytime in the future“), “Real Life” Mathematics (as opposed to what?), a few casual (ironic?) percentages to imply that their arguments should be taken seriously and many other facepalming moments.
All the article does is show how the media perpetuate these myths- the primary cause of this phenomenon.