A maths test for all university applicants could help improve Britain’s chances of competing in a post-Brexit world, according to a new report.
The report, from the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), calls for universities to be forced to amend their entry criteria to include maths. This would help to ensure that maths training is continued beyond school age and increase the ‘pipeline’ of mathematical skills beyond university and into the workplace.
Existing qualifications such as A Levels could be used as a proxy for higher education entrance but a test would need to be introduced for applicants who had not chosen to continue studying maths after the age of 16.
An alternative option, the report says, would be to make maths compulsory for 16–19 year olds. The Smith Review of post-16 maths is currently investigating this possibility and is expected to report next month.
Whilst the Coadec report focuses on the skills needed for businesses in the technology sector, its authors believe its findings are applicable to the wider economy, and could take 10 years to implement, not least because of the need to recruit and train more maths teachers.