Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bark: Dumbing Down

I was pretty shocked to read this story on BBC News today.

This is apparently what passes for 1st Year University level Maths these days. I was doing trigonometry this basic for my Maths GCSE fifteen years ago.

Compare this to a question from a Chinese pre-entry Maths test for Science undergraduates:

Pretty significant step up in difficulty. I know my Maths is pretty rusty (and wasn't brilliant to begin with, as my D at A-Level will testify), but I'd struggle with that having done lots of Maths (including differential vector equations... brrr!) in my Physics degree, let alone be expected to do it when I was 18 years old. And yet we're constantly told by the government that educational standards are going up. It doesn't take a Nobel Prize winning Mathematician to tell you that the two sides of that equation don't balance...
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