The State of Declining Mathematics Enrolments

This post, as indicated by the title, is ostensibly about the State of declining enrolments in mathematics subjects. That State, as we shall see, turns out to be Queensland. But, first things first.

Last week, AMSI released its annual Mathematics Participation Report Card, complete with a media release and a media notice of an Australian story on the report (Murdoch, paywalled). Begun in 2008, AMSI’s report has become a tradition of sorts, kind of an Australian Groundhog Day. Each year, mathematicians poke out their heads, look at the darker maths ed skies, mutter “Bugger this, it’s worse”, and go back inside. This year is no different. Except, it turns out to be different. Continue reading “The State of Declining Mathematics Enrolments”

Rumoring Scotch

The other day we were teasing a friend and colleague who teaches at Melbourne’s Scotch College, and we got seriously puzzled. We have a question.

Scotch is arguably the strongest and most prestigious school in Melbourne, now and always. Its alumni include a number of Australia’s greats, including Sir John Monash, Sir Ninian Stephen, Professor E R Love and Batfucker Smith. But here’s the question:

Why does Scotch College not offer the International Baccalaureate?

It is weird. Scotch has enough money for seven polo fields, and Lexus rowboats, and Gucci footballs. Whatever. The place is dripping with status and wealth and privilege. Moreover, and almost uniquely, the school has academic standards and, specifically, it employs some strong mathematics staff, who know mathematics and can teach it. So, why, when the school has an easily available option, does Scotch force their students into the fifth rate swill of VCE? Why not sell a couple of boats and start IB?

We really don’t get it.