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Issues in Educational Research, 2018, Vol 28(3), 635-654
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Teachers' perceptions on declining student enrolments in Australian senior secondary mathematics courses

Gregory Hine
The University of Notre Dame Australia

The study of higher-level secondary mathematics is considered essential for national economic growth, competitiveness in research and innovation, and further education opportunities. Yet the reported trend within Australian secondary schools is that enrolments in higher-level mathematics are declining and have been in a state of decline for over a decade. The little available and recent literature published on this phenomenon has looked at why secondary students elect to study higher-level mathematics courses, both from the perspective of teachers and students. This research paper presents findings as to why Heads of Learning Area: Mathematics (HOLAMs) believe capable secondary students elect not to enrol in those courses. Data were collected from 50 secondary schools across the three sectors (Government, Catholic, Independent) in Western Australia. The key findings are that capable students do not enrol in higher-level mathematics courses because these courses are not required for university entrance, other courses appear to be less rigorous and more viable, and the Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR) score can be maximised by taking one mathematics course instead of two courses.
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Author: Dr Gregory Hine earned his PhD in adolescent leadership development from UNDA. He currently teaches pre-service, secondary mathematics teachers in mathematical pedagogy and content, as well educational action research at a postgraduate level. Greg's research interests include mathematical proof, secondary mathematics enrolments, and the professional learning needs of mathematics teachers.
Email: gregory.hine@nd.edu.au
Web: https://www.notredame.edu.au/about/schools/fremantle/education/staff/Gregory-Hine

Please cite as: Hine, G. (2018). Teachers' perceptions on declining student enrolments in Australian senior secondary mathematics courses. Issues in Educational Research, 28(3), 635-654. http://www.iier.org.au/iier28/hine.pdf

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Created 2 Aug 2018. Last revision: 2 Aug 2018.
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