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France wants to fix 'catastrophic' math scores, conquer fear

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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PARIS, France (AP) — France's Government is worried about how many of its schoolchildren consider themselves “stupid at math”.

The education minister released a report yesterday, commissioned by renowned mathematician and legislator Cedric Villani, describing “catastrophic” scores and recommending 21 steps to turn things around.

France's math scores have been sinking in international rankings for most of this century. The report warned that the current system is leading to “a lasting loss of self-esteem” which continues into adulthood, and greater inequality between those strong in maths and the rest.

The report urges better maths training for primary school teachers, most of whom come from literary or social studies backgrounds. It recommends more hands-on activities, efforts to teach children early to calculate in their heads, and support for high-schoolers struggling with abstract maths.

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