Equations and Inequalities
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Equations and Inequalities

Making Mathematics Accessible to All

More than ever, students need to engage with mathematical concepts, think quantitatively and analytically, and communicate using mathematics. All these skills are central to a young person’s preparedness to tackle problems that arise at work and in life beyond the classroom. But the reality is that many students are not familiar with basic mathematics concepts and, at school, only practice routine tasks that do not improve their ability to think quantitatively and solve real-life, complex problems.

How can we break this pattern? This report, based on results from PISA 2012, shows that one way forward is to ensure that all students spend more “engaged” time learning core mathematics concepts and solving challenging mathematics tasks. The opportunity to learn mathematics content – the time students spend learning mathematics topics and practising maths tasks at school – can accurately predict mathematics literacy. Differences in students’ familiarity with mathematics concepts explain a substantial share of performance disparities in PISA between socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged students. Widening access to mathematics content can raise average levels of achievement and, at the same time, reduce inequalities in education and in society at large.

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Exposure to Mathematics in School and Performance in PISA You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD

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This chapter analyses how opportunity to learn mathematics influences students’ performance in PISA and their capacity to solve the most challenging PISA tasks. The results show that exposure to pure mathematics has a strong association with performance that tends to increase as the difficulty of mathematics problems increases. Socio-economically disadvantaged students, who have fewer opportunities to learn how to use symbolic language, acquire fluency in procedures and build mathematic models, lack some of the essential skills needed to solve mathematics problems.

 
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