Australia High School Preparation

HIGH SCHOOL PREPARATION: A 2017 report from Engineers Australia found that participation in STEM subjects among year 12 students has been declining since 2001. Participation in advanced mathematics and physics, which are considered fundamental courses for preparing the country’s future engineers, has declined from 2001 to 2015, but participation is especially low among girls.

Note: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) uses the term “higher mathematics” in recent publications to refer to “advanced mathematics.”

Year 12 STEM Course-Taking, by Gender, 2001 and 2015

High School Preparation

Trends in Year 12 STEM Course-Taking, by Course Subject and Gender, 2001-2015

Trends in Year 12 STEM Course-Taking, by Course Subject and Gender, 2001-2015

Source: Engineers Australia. (2017a). The state of the engineering practice.

In 2017, while 12.2% of boys were taking a higher mathematics course, only 6.9% of girls in year 12 were enrolled in the course. Female participation is also low in year 12 physics, declining from 8.8% in 2001 to 5.9% in 2015. On the other hand, a higher proportion of girls participate in intermediate mathematics than boys during year 12, such that in 2017, 20% of girls are enrolled in the course in comparison to 18.9% of boys.

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Source: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI), James, S., 2019, Year 12 Mathematics Participation in Australia 2008-2017.


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