Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | May 13, 2011

Education Agenda

The London Mathematical Society will hold soon an Education Day. To my taste, its agenda (see below) is overloaded, this is why I seek  my blog readers’ opinion on any points that they may find interesting.

Session One: The Transition from School To University

A commonly heard complaint is that students in the UK who have done A level maths are insufficiently prepared for entrance to university mathematics degree courses. The abolition of QCDA and the recent Government White paper give HE an opportunity to become more involved in both the design and assessment of A level as well as in the creation of resources such as text books, project packs and internet resource. HE can also be involved in aiding the transition of students to university by working more closely with schools to provide both enrichment and the opportunities to challenge sixth form students (and their teachers).

The break out sessions will be asked to consider the following questions

  1.  What do we expect our students to know when they arrive to do an HE Mathematics course.
  2. What commonality and differences are there across the sector and how is this reflected in admission requirements?
  3. How well is A level preparing students for university and what might we wish to see in a revised A level course.
  4. How might HE be more involved in challenging and enriching A level mathematics students to prepare them for entry to university

Session Two: Training of lecturers

This session will address the two questions of what is the ideal content HE maths degree and how we should be teaching it. The newly formed HE-STEM network and the More Maths Grads (MMG) project have both addressed the questions of the content and teaching of maths in HE. (The earlier Benchmark Statement also looked at this issue) and have raised the difficult issue of whether there a need for a common syllabus across the HE sector and how should this relate to the teaching of maths at schools and the consequent preparedness of our students? The meeting will have the opportunity to compare and contrast the different approached. The second question relates directly to the thorny question of lecturer training. There is significant disquiet in the mathematics community both about the dominance and perceived irrelevance of generic training rather than subject specific training of maths lecturers, and also of the ending of the funding of the MSOR subject centre and the new lecturers induction course run by this centre.

The break out sessions will be asked to consider the following questions

  1. How does the content of an HE Maths course vary across the sector
  2. What are the pros and cons of a common syllabus
  3. What is the current provision for lecturer training across the sector?
  4. What is ideally required to train new lecturers and how this should be implemented?
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