“Why am I one of the only girls in my school studying A level maths?”I’m rarely stumped by questions from students, but this one — from a 17-year-old student who attended a recent talk I gave at London’s Royal Institution — really made me think.In the UK, all students have to study maths until the age of 16, with boys and girls achieving broadly similar GCSE results. However, the numbers who go on to study maths at A level reveal a striking gender split. Female students accounted for 39.3 per cent of A level maths entries in 2018. For further maths, this dropped even further to 28.3 per cent. While maths is the number one A level subject choice for boys, for girls it is fourth behind English, psychology and biology. What lies behind these numbers? As a maths teacher — and lover of puzzles — I have attempted to find out the answer, and explain how attitudes towards maths and numeracy have a direct bearing on our career aspirations and personal finances.Number confidence Research released this week from the charity National Numeracy found that while three-quarters of adults said they generally felt confident dealing with numbers and maths, the… Read full this story
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