Mathematics Education in Europe - Eurydice Report
In recent years, the issue of competence in mathematics has become increasingly important and has been taken up at the highest policy level. Mathematical competence has been identified as one of the key competences necessary for personal fulfilment, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability in a knowledge society. Moreover, the 2008 'Council Conclusions on preparing young people for the 21st century: an agenda for European cooperation on schools' considers the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills to be the main priority for European cooperation in education.
In the light of these policy developments, this first Eurydice report on mathematics education aims to contribute to European and national debate on how to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics and provide support to European cooperation in the field.
"Competence in mathematics has been identified at EU level as one of the key competences for personal fulfilment, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability in the knowledge society of the 21st century. Concerns about low student performance, as revealed by international surveys, led to the adoption in 2009 of an EU-wide benchmark in basic skills which states that 'by 2020 the share of 15-year-olds with insufficient abilities in reading, mathematics and science should be less than 15 %'. In order to achieve the target by 2020, we must identify obstacles and problem areas on the one hand and effective approaches on the other. This report, which is a comparative analysis of approaches to mathematics teaching in Europe, aims to contribute to a better understanding of these factors.
The report reviews national policies for reforming mathematics curricula, promoting innovative teaching methods and assessment, and improving teacher education and training. It calls for overarching policies for mathematics education that are based on continuous monitoring, research evidence. It also argues for comprehensive support policies for teachers, a renewed focus on the various applications of mathematical knowledge and problem-solving skills, and for the implementation of a range of strategies to significantly reduce low achievement.
The report also delivers recommendations on how to increase motivation to learn mathematics and encourage the take-up of mathematics-related careers. Many European countries are confronted with
declining numbers of students of mathematics, science and technology, and face a poor gender balance in these disciplines. We need to urgently address this issue as shortages of specialists in mathematics and related fields can affect the competitiveness of our economies and our efforts to overcome the financial and economic crisis.
I am confident that this report, which is based on the latest research and extensive country evidence, will make a timely contribution to the debate on effective mathematics education. It will be of great help to all those concerned with raising the level of mathematical competence of young people in Europe."
You can download the full pdf here: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/132EN.pdf