One of the myths is that every one of us is going to have to know algebra, geometry, trigonometry in the 21st century, because that’s the way a high-tech age is going. (Andrew Hacker)Algebra is a core component of Algebra in the US. Andrew Hacker argues that only

**5% of the workforce uses Advanced Mathematics in the US**, which is the incorrect starting point. It is not the content that is taught in Mathematics that is essential for all school leavers, it is

**residuals of learning that are key - the mathematical thinking, the problem solving and mathematical literacy**that all citizens need. To be fair, Andrew Hacker does focus on a move to literacy; however, how can you promote mathematical literacy without rigorous content as the context in which to teach that literacy? Yes, Numeracy can be taught in subject such as Science and Geography (and I would argue in all subjects, even English), but there also needs to be significant thought in an abstract manner.

*We need to focus on the residuals of learning - what is it that students take out of our classes and continue to hold on to long after they have forgotten Pythagoras' Theorem?*

What is the impact for Australia?

There is of course some merit to his argument, that for some students applications of mathematics (arithmetic) would be of more benefit than calculus.

**So, how does all of this sit in Australia?**The Australian Curriculum as formed in NSW Syllabus documents has a balance of algebra that is required in the junior years, through to optional courses in the senior years of General Mathematics that focuses on real world applications and the calculus based courses.

The curriculum in NSW is undergoing change at the moment and the increase of statistical numeracy for all students studying a Mathematics course is a welcomed step forward.

See the video where Andrew Hacker argues for reform in his book "The Math Myth":

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