Equations and Inequalities

Making Mathematics Accessible to All

image of Equations and Inequalities

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.

English French, Korean


Why Access to Mathematics Matters and How it Can be Measured

This chapter discusses the importance of mathematics knowledge for acquiring numeracy skills and developing problem-solving abilities. It presents the concept of “opportunity to learn” and argues that measuring opportunity to learn is of critical importance for international comparisons of curricula and student performance. An overview of the data on opportunity to learn in PISA 2012 shows that education systems differ greatly in the degree to which students are exposed to mathematics concepts and also in the way mathematics problems are formulated and presented to students.



This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error