The NSW government is set to make mathematics compulsory for year 11 and 12 students to ensure graduates have key numeracy skills.
Maths is currently only mandatory to year 10. This move would extent compulsory classes to years 11 and 12 but this does not necessarily mean students are required to do it as a unit of study for their HSC.
“Whilst we would like to see all HSC students study a form of maths in years 11 and 12 – this won’t involve forcing them to take maths as a unit of study for their HSC, nor will it necessarily count toward their ATAR,” NSW Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said.
The Sydney Morning Herald report that almost a quarter of HSC student opted against taking maths.
On Tuesday, it was announced that NSW state schools could undergo a curriculum shake-up, reducing the number of subjects studied and emphasising “real world” skills.
The state government released the interim curriculum review headed by Professor Geoff Masters covering kindergarten to year 12. It marks the first shake-up of the system in 30 years.
The report suggests reducing the amount of curriculum content so students can develop in-depth subject knowledge and develop the skills to apply knowledge “in the real world”.
This includes a sharper focus on maths, English and science.
It also proposes “flexible progression” for students through the public system, which would involve using levels of attainment to organise syllabuses, so students are recognised and challenged according to where they are on the learning scale.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the review’s emphasis on fundamentals aligns with the government’s aim to give young people the tools they need to get ahead in life after school.
“The NSW government strongly supports a back to basics approach,” she said in a statement.
“Students need to have strong foundations in maths, English and science to be prepared for the jobs of the future and for attaining lifelong skills.”
The interim report will be open for public consultation until December 13.