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The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) has collected data on participation in mathematics subjects in Year 12 for many years. Collecting enrolment data in individual maths subjects is crucial to know at what level students study mathematics in Year 12, to know how prepared they are for tertiary study. What the AMSI Year 12 Mathematics Participation Report Card released today continues to show is that the maths participation in Year 12 remains at all-time lows. 

Read the report card here

In the last decade, Year 12 enrolments in calculus-based mathematics subjects remained stable – albeit at a low level – as a proportion of all students who complete high school exams. However, any hope of improving enrolment numbers has faded, as the three most recent years of data show that enrolments are at much lower levels than previously seen.

The STEM industry depends on early adolescence appreciating the value of mathematics as a career and life aspiration.

The participation report highlights: 

  1. Year 12 participation in calculus-based mathematics has plummeted to an all-time low in the last three years
  2. Female participation in higher mathematics also remains low: only 6.4% of year 12 females studied higher mathematics in 2022
  3. Enrolments in elementary level mathematics (Essential and General Mathematics) are also declining. In 2022, less than half of the year 12 graduating cohort (45.8%) studied an elementary level mathematics subject

AMSI Director, Professor Tim Marchant said the findings of this research show that the STEM pipeline is fundamental to the economic development, industrial growth and success of our country.

“Year 12 enrolments in calculus-based mathematics subjects remain at all time lows and have not returned to the levels seen pre-COVID. These low enrolment levels will impact Australia’s capacity to meet future STEM workforce needs,” Professor Marchant said.

The findings are part of the Discipline Profile Report, which will be released mid-2024.  

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