A Vision of Senior Secondary & Undergraduate Mathematical Science (SSUMS)

SSUMS is a New Zealand Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (NZIMA) funded two-year project aimed at bringing together teachers of Year 12 and 13 Mathematics and Statistics and undergraduate university lecturers to create a vision for education in the mathematical sciences for 16-20 year olds.

The first part of the project involved gathering and analysing data in four main areas:

  • the number of students undertaking mathematical study at senior secondary and tertiary levels in NZ (1960-2010)
  • the expected mathematical understanding of students entering undergraduate programmes at NZ universities
  • the mathematical qualifications of senior secondary mathematics teachers (article)
  • the performance outcomes at first year university level of students with various mathematical school qualifications

As part of the data collection phase questionnaires were distributed to senior secondary mathematics teachers and mathematical science lecturers surveying barriers to enrolments in advanced mathematical science courses in NZ.

In April 2010 an initial Envisioning the Future conference was held in Auckland bringing together 100 interested teachers and lecturers. The beginnings of a “vision” emerged and was developed by regional meetings later in the year. The key elements of an Action Plan to implement the vision were discussed. The outcomes from the conference were summarised in a paper by Barton, Clark & Sheryn.

As a continuation of the conference, there were several regional meetings organised to develop the community of teachers and lecturers of mathematical sciences and to discuss the Vision and the Action Plan. Each meetings began with a discussion around the leaflet Towards an Emerging Vision leaflet which summarises the April 2010 conference.

The final event for this NZIMA project was a national conference entitled Implementing the Vision held in April 2011 in Wellington. The conference brought together about 50 teachers, lecturers, policy makers and other stake-holders and focused on the possible implementation of the vision. What needs to be done? How might we accomplish these tasks? What barriers might we face and what opportunities exist? A brief report of the conference can be found here Report of Wgtn Conference 2011.

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