In today’s world, with its rapidly changing and increasingly technology-based societies, the teaching of mathematics and science plays a key role in ensuring that children and young people have the knowledge, skills and mental training to be active and responsible citizens.
He international research they tell us the percentage of students who do not reach the basic levels of these disciplines remains well above the European maximum of 15% (en Italy the percentage among 15-year-olds is 23.8% in mathematics and 29.5% in science).
This study analyzes the measures taken by the education authorities of European countries to strengthen the motivation of students and raise their level of performance, with a focus on support measures aimed at those with low performance, through the analysis of the organization of teaching, assessment and the general context of education.
The conclusions highlight the importance of allocating sufficient teaching time, providing timely teaching support, ensuring the training of specialized teachers and systematically monitoring the results achieved by students. The study also offers many examples of how math and science curricula can encourage reflection and stay connected with student life.
The report gathers qualitative information provided by the Eurydice Network on policies and regulations in 39 European education systems and data from two international surveys: the survey Trends in the international study of mathematics and science (TIMSS) 2019 managed by the International Association for the Assessment of Educational Performance (IEA), and the 2018 PISA survey conducted by the OECD.
- The most common way to support students with learning disabilities is individual or small group support, available during or outside school hours. Education systems that offer this support during school hours tend to have lower percentages of low performance in math and science.
- The educational systems in which the teachers who specialize in supporting poor students (the so-called ‘recovery teachers’) involved in providing teaching support have a lower average percentage of students with low results in mathematics than countries that do not provide these figures. In Italy this specific figure of specialized teacher is not present and the support activity is performed by the class teacher.
- In all countries, teachers usually report it teach math and science relating them to everyday life. From the connection between math and finance, architecture or DIY, to the sciences linked to social and ethical issues (in many countries the most complex connections face higher secondary education). All resumes include topics such as nature protection or he pollution reduction; however, only half of European education systems include environmental sustainability among the key educational principles.
- There is a lack of specialized teachers in mathematics and science and a fort need for continued professional development in these fields. On this last point also i Italian teachers – the figure of TIMMS refers to the teachers of fourth of primary – have expressed emphasizing the need of a future continuous training.
- Despite the great impact of the pandemic on the student learning experience, only half of the education systems included Italyhas implemented additional learning support measures.