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Studying advanced mathematics in England: findings from a survey of student choices and attitudes

Noyes, Andrew; Adkins, Michael



The UK Government has set a goal that the ‘vast majority’ of students in England will be studying mathematics to 18 by the end of the decade. The policy levers for achieving this goal include new Core Maths qualifications, designed for over 200,000 students who have achieved good grades at the age of 16 but then opt out of advanced or A-level mathematics. This paper reports findings from a cluster-sampled survey of over ten thousand 17-year-olds in England in 2015. Participants’ views on post-16 mathematics are presented and discussed. The main finding is that they are strongly opposed to the idea of compulsory mathematical study, but are less antithetical to being encouraged to study mathematics beyond 16. We consider how attitudes vary by gender, prior attainment, study patterns and future aspirations. The paper considers the implications of these findings in the current policy landscape.


Noyes, A., & Adkins, M. (in press). Studying advanced mathematics in England: findings from a survey of student choices and attitudes. Research in Mathematics Education, 18(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 2, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 2, 2016
Deposit Date May 10, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 2, 2016
Journal Research in Mathematics Education
Print ISSN 1479-4802
Electronic ISSN 1754-0178
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 3
Keywords advanced mathematics, Core Maths, participation, choice, survey
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research in Mathematics Education on 2 June 2016, available online:


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