Ever heard the typical complaint, "When am I ever going to use this in real life?" Well, it seems like math is the subject that often triggers this reaction, along with eye rolls, from high school students.

A recent YouthTruth survey, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, delves into the reasons behind students' lack of enthusiasm for math.

The comprehensive survey, which gathered responses from nearly 90,000 high school students, reveals that while 57% agree math is important for everyone to learn and 70% believe they can excel in it with hard work, only 47% feel their classes explore interesting math problems. Moreover, 46% hesitate to ask questions when they find math challenging.

The said survey identifies three critical insights:

  1. Disconnection from practical application
    Many students perceive "school math" as detached from real-life situations, fostering a sense of disinterest.

  2. Positive learning experiences matter
    Students who view themselves as "determined" math learners attribute their success to positive relationships with teachers and a strong connection to the subject.

  3. Need for more engaging problems
    A significant number of students lose motivation due to uninteresting math problems, highlighting the importance of making the subject more engaging and relevant.

The challenge now is for educators to bridge this gap and reshape math education to turn it into a more enjoyable and relatable experience for students.


Picture: ELISHA, PLAYING SUMUP-TO-10 (Arcanys Early Learning Foundation)