PISA 2012: Series on the Learning Environment Volume I: Opportunities to learn maths Publications
In this report factors relating to opportunities students have to learn different mathematical concepts are brought together to provide a picture of the learning environment and how it relates to maths achievement in the PISA 2012 assessment. First of all, student contact with maths is examined through factors such as time spent learning maths, and whether additional maths classes and extra-curricular maths activities are offered at school. Next, student self-reports of familiarity with 13 mathematical content areas are presented. Finally, information is provided of the relative opportunities that New Zealand students have to learn formal maths problems.
Author(s): Michelle Lamy with Steve May, Research Division, Ministry of Education.
Date Published: November 2014
Student contact with maths:
- Students in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom spent considerably less time learning maths per week than their counterparts in Canada and Singapore. The average in New Zealand was just over 4 hours per week.
- No significant relationship between time spent learning maths per week and achievement was found in New Zealand.
- High proportions of New Zealand students attended schools that offered maths competitions (96%) and enrichment and remedial maths lessons (76%), but fewer students attended schools with maths clubs (25%).
- In New Zealand, students that attended schools offering many extra-curricular maths activities scored higher on average than students whose schools did not offer as many activities.
Covering different areas of maths
- New Zealand students were most familiar with certain mathematical concepts such as probability, polygons, and linear equations.
- Up to 60 per cent of students indicated they had never heard of mathematical concepts such as congruent figures, radicals, and divisors.
- New Zealand students were less exposed to formal maths than students in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and particularly in Singapore.
- A students’ exposure to formal maths — such as algebra and geometry — was strongly linked to their maths achievement.
- New Zealand stood out among PISA participants for having one of the largest differences in achievement related to the level of exposure to formal maths.
- The higher a students’ socio-economic status, the higher their exposure to formal maths.
- Exposure to formal maths was highest students from socio-economically advantaged schools and students in urban schools.
Where to find out more
If you have any questions about PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) please email: PISA Mailbox