Student math level: why France leaves

the essential
A survey by a learning platform shows that math is still of interest to students but scary. To the point that France is at the bottom of the international ranking …

Each student always has a favorite subject and another that he / she especially learns. In this category, it is an understatement to say that mathematics sculpts a place of choice. A phenomenon that once again highlights a recent survey conducted this summer by, a math learning platform, which shows that with math, it’s almost like “I don’t love you either. »

85.9% of young people surveyed say they like math … but one in two students say they are scared. “Fear would rather be the result of shortcomings accumulated by the student over the years and that end up paralyzing him. But he is not aware of it and in the end he only feels the fear that his weaknesses in mathematics will engender, ”Younss Messoudi, founder of Jai20enmaths and professor of mathematics for 25 years, told La Voix du Nord.

Among the reasons why French students are bad at math, 35% say it’s because of accumulated shortcomings, 20% say they don’t understand anything, 15% think they don’t have the math hit, 15% He thinks that his bad results are due to the fact that he doesn’t like his teacher and, finally, one in five students has given up and decided not to work on this subject anymore … On the part of the parents, a 25% are afraid of math and only 15% of them think that their children should do math because they are useful. 100% of them believe that mathematics is useful, 75.7% use it in their daily life and one in three parents believe that mathematics is above all the key to improving their studies.

These results correspond to the study carried out by the Department of Assessment, Forecasting and Performance (DEPP) of the Ministry of National Education in the years 2008, 2014 and 2019 among CM2 students. While 67.1% of students say they do math because they like it, 58.7% admit to being afraid of getting bad grades …

France lags behind

Does this paradox explain the poor results of French students? In any case, France has clearly stalled on this issue. “While between 2008 and 2014, the average score had remained stable, in 2019 it dropped 17 points to 232 points? Figure 1. The weakest groups (<1 and 1 and 2) saw their numbers increase: they accounted for 54.4% of students in 2019 compared to 42.4% in 2014. On the other hand, the proportion of students of the best performing groups (groups 4 and 5). ) decreases: 20.2% in 2019 compared to 29% in 2014. Finally, 25.4% of students belong to the intermediate group (group 3), compared to 28.6% in 2014 ", says the study. A drop in the level that worries both "punctual" and late students, says the study, which indicates, not surprisingly, that students in the most disadvantaged schools are not affected by the drop in performance.

However, at the international level, France is lagging behind. According to the latest TIMSS survey (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), a comparative study that measures the level of academic knowledge of students in CM1 and 4th grade in mathematics and science, the latest edition of which dates from 2019, France is at the bottom. of the 64 countries tested. In CM1, with a score of 485 points in mathematics, France is thus below the average of the countries of the European Union (527) and the OECD (529). A difference of about fifty points is equivalent to one year of teaching …

21 measures in the Villani-Torossian report

Having confirmed these results those of the previous edition of TIMSS of 2015, it is necessary to act urgently. This was the meaning of the mission entrusted to the mathematician and deputy Cédric Villani and to the Inspector General Charles Torossian, who on 12 February 2018 presented a report “21 measures for the teaching of mathematics. »Better train teachers, equip schools, experiment with new interdisciplinary gateways, encourage collaboration, promote equality between girls and boys, review courses and textbooks, etc. These are ways that take time to materialize and the effects of which on student outcomes will not be immediate.

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