Half of Britain's workforce can't do high school math

Talk about anything and everything not related to this site or the Dreamcast, such as news stories, political discussion, or anything else. If there's not a forum for it, it belongs in here. Also, be warned that personal insults, threats, and spamming will not be tolerated.
User avatar
Roofus
President & CEO Roofuscorp, LLC
President & CEO Roofuscorp, LLC
Posts: 9889
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2002 11:42 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Half of Britain's workforce can't do high school math

Post by Roofus » Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:08 pm

The devastating scale of poor English and maths skills in the nation's workforce has been laid bare.

Almost half the British working population lacks the numeracy skills expected of a 14-year-old, Education Secretary Alan Johnson admitted.

Fifteen million adults would not scrape the lowest G grade in the subject at GCSE since they are "not properly numerate".

Another five million "cannot read" despite being of working age, he declared.

The scale of the problem highlights the appalling legacy of decades of failure in Britain's schools.

The figures come five years after the launch of a multi-billion pound Government scheme designed to rescue the poor literacy and numeracy skills of the nation.

The extent of continuing failure in the three Rs calls into question the success of the "skills for life" initiative which has already swallowed up ?4billion and is expected to cost a further ?2billion by 2010.

Mr Johnson admitted Britain had allowed itself to "indulge in the luxury of failure" for too long as he vowed to wipe out illiteracy and poor maths skills.

He revealed a Government-commissioned report had concluded 47 per cent of adults have maths skills below the standard expected of a 14-year-old pupil at school.

It means their numeracy is so poor they would be unable to pass a GCSE and achieve even the lowest G grade. Meanwhile 16 per cent, around five million, have literacy skills at the same low standards.

In a speech to the Institute of Directors in London, Mr Johnson said: "Despite all our progress, five million adults in Britain cannot read and 15 million people, almost half the workforce, are not properly numerate.

"Nationally, poor basic skills costs us ?10billion-a-year in lost productivity and welfare benefits."

"These are such fundamentally vital skills... that we simply can't allow ourselves to indulge in the luxury of failure any longer."

He warned that Britain's future economic prosperity could be at risk as unveiled a new Government target to eradicate poor skills in the three Rs from the workplace by 2020.

But the Conservatives accused the Government of failing to meet existing targets improving basic skills.

David Willetts, Tory education spokesman, said: "Mr Johnson is right to admit the scale of the problem after nine years of Labour government but there are already targets in this area, many of which ministers have missed.

"He should be focusing on what really works to tackle poor literacy and numeracy not announcing another target."

A former chief inspector of schools said the figures showed how years of discredited trendy teaching theories had damaged opportunities for millions of Britons.

Meanwhile Chris Woodhead, former head of Ofsted, condemned a "legacy of failure".

He said: "We have known about these problems for years. A target isn't going to achieve anything. What new initiatives is the Secretary of State going to dream up this time?

"The answer of course is to return to traditional teaching methods that were abandoned in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and which led to the catastrophe that we are experiencing now."

He added: "We know that millions have been spent on this problem so why does it continue? Why do we still have so few 16-year-olds that pass English and maths?"

Industry leaders said bosses in Britain were forced to spend billions giving staff even basic skills to enable them to hold down their jobs.

Susan Anderson, director of human resources policy at the CBI, said: "We are disappointed we are where we are, with so much of the workforce not functionally literate and numerate.

"It impacts on company productivity and performance and employers have had to address these issues themselves by giving individuals the literacy and numeracy skills they lack.

"Employees are very good at disguising it, and these are not unintelligent people, but it does slow business down.

"It is up to the Government, not employers, to rectify the failures of the system and we need a two-pronged approach - to stem the tide of young people entering the labour market with poor literacy and numeracy and also to address those already there."

Mr Johnson attributed the extent of the problem to "decades of under-investment".

The Government already has a target to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of 2.25million adults by 2010, with an interim target of 1.5million by 2007.

Officials insisted but the Government was on course to meet it but a report from the cross-party Public Accounts Committee claimed many of the newly-skilled were recent school-leavers.

Official figures published last month revealed more than half of school-leavers are failing to achieve the standards demanded by employers in English and maths.

Link
Ex-Cyber
DCEmu User with No Life
DCEmu User with No Life
Posts: 3641
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2002 1:55 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Post by Ex-Cyber » Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:53 pm

Every time I see this argument unfold, it shaves away a little bit of the skepticism that I hold toward the views of John Taylor Gatto (one-sentence summary: Standardized public education was originally instituted as a means to create a permanent establishment-dependent underclass and to this day uses behavioral conditioning to stifle individuality and create a feeling of powerlessness in students).
"You know, I have a great, wonderful, really original method of teaching antitrust law, and it kept 80 percent of the students awake. They learned things. It was fabulous." -- Justice Stephen Breyer
Egotistical EvilN
DCEmu User with No Life
DCEmu User with No Life
Posts: 3516
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2001 12:34 am
Location: Birmingham, Al
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Post by Egotistical EvilN » Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:53 pm

He added: "We know that millions have been spent on this problem so why does it continue? Why do we still have so few 16-year-olds that pass English and maths?"
:lol:
Image
Image
User avatar
CupNoodle
Jim Dandy!
Posts: 2336
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2002 9:48 pm
Location: ny
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Post by CupNoodle » Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:12 am

Egotistical EvilN wrote:
He added: "We know that millions have been spent on this problem so why does it continue? Why do we still have so few 16-year-olds that pass English and maths?"
:lol:
I assume you're laughing at "maths"?

:roll:

Anyways, on topic. Are there any scans of this GCSE floating around? I'd like to see it.
User avatar
not just souLLy now
DCEmu Respected
DCEmu Respected
Posts: 4044
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 5:53 pm
Location: UK
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Post by not just souLLy now » Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:37 am

I wouldn't listen to much the daily mail has to say to be honest, it's a paper for middleclass white middleaged fuddy duddies. They're always the first to jump on stories about childred being anti-social because of computer games or television or music (but not books), social decline, our hospitals are terrible, things aren't what they used to be- i used to be able to leave my door open all day, all night without fear of being robbed or worse... etc etc
BlackAura
DC Developer
DC Developer
Posts: 9951
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2001 9:02 am
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Post by BlackAura » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:12 am

An idiot wrote:Mr Johnson is right to admit the scale of the problem after nine years of Labour government
Let's do a little basic maths, shall we?

GCSEs are taken at the age of 16. So, working under the assumption that it's entirely the Labour government's fault, and under the assumption that everybody suddenly got stupider the instant they were elected, we simply have to add 9 to 16 to get 25 - the age below which people's education could have been adversely affected by this particular government. Obviously we're going to exclude those too young to have taken a GCSE, on the basis that the might actually have not been taught anything.

There are around 4.5 million people in that age bracket, out of a total population of 60 million. That's just around 7.5%, so assuming that everybody who went to school while the current Labour government is in power is total retard, that's a maximum difference of 7.5%.

47% of adults are apparently too stupid to pass a basic maths test. So how, exactly, is this all Labour's fault?

Anyway, by my count that 47% must at least stretch up to age 50 or so, and that's assuming that everybody in recent years was unable to pass a basic maths test. Obviously there's something going on here beyond education problems.

Isn't it just possible that people have forgotten how to do basic maths? If they don't use it much, or manage to avoid situations where it would be useful, they'd just get worse and worse at it. You can bet that most of them wouldn't have been failing when they were actually at school.
-Orbo- wrote:Anyways, on topic. Are there any scans of this GCSE floating around? I'd like to see it.
The BBC put up some mock exams for GCSE revision purposes. Here's a link to the maths ones:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesi ... ndex.shtml

The one they're talking about is the foundation tier. Most students at comprehensive schools (standard public high schools) are put in at the intermediate tier, with their best students going for the higher tier, and their worst students going for the foundation tier (presumably called "foundation" to avoid upsetting anyone). Grammar schools (schools with selective intake based on academic ability) typically aim all but a handful of their students at the higher tier.

Anyone who showed up at math class, and put in the bare minimum of effort, should be able to pass the foundation tier easily, regardless of academic ability.
User avatar
Specially Cork
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11443
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2002 10:01 am
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 1 time

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Jun 16, 2006 5:02 am

Egotistical EvilN wrote:
He added: "We know that millions have been spent on this problem so why does it continue? Why do we still have so few 16-year-olds that pass English and maths?"
:lol:
In English the word is "Maths", as a shortened version of the word "Mathematics".
Image
User avatar
butters
Classic Games Lover
Classic Games Lover
Posts: 5088
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 6:50 pm
Location: Lubbock, Texas, United States, Sol 3, Milky Way Galaxy
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Post by butters » Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:37 am

BoneyCork wrote:
Egotistical EvilN wrote:
He added: "We know that millions have been spent on this problem so why does it continue? Why do we still have so few 16-year-olds that pass English and maths?"
:lol:
In English the word is "Maths", as a shortened version of the word "Mathematics".
While we are discussing English, punctuation is supposed to go inside the quotes. Doing this bugs the crap out of me, but the rules are the rules.
User avatar
Specially Cork
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11443
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2002 10:01 am
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 1 time

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:48 am

The problem with this isn't to do with education. As BA pointed out, it doesnt take much knowledge to pass the foundation tier. The problem is with attitude, there are a lot of people who simply cant be bothered with stuff like Maths and English, so dont bother with the exams and end up failing as a result.
Image
Ex-Cyber
DCEmu User with No Life
DCEmu User with No Life
Posts: 3641
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2002 1:55 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Post by Ex-Cyber » Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:34 am

butters wrote:While we are discussing English, punctuation is supposed to go inside the quotes.
That's in US English. )()(
"You know, I have a great, wonderful, really original method of teaching antitrust law, and it kept 80 percent of the students awake. They learned things. It was fabulous." -- Justice Stephen Breyer
User avatar
butters
Classic Games Lover
Classic Games Lover
Posts: 5088
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 6:50 pm
Location: Lubbock, Texas, United States, Sol 3, Milky Way Galaxy
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Post by butters » Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:42 am

Ex-Cyber wrote:
butters wrote:While we are discussing English, punctuation is supposed to go inside the quotes.
That's in US English. )()(
Hmm apparently it is. I've never seen any published work using British English, so I didn't know this was the case.
User avatar
SuperMegatron
DCEmu User with No Life
DCEmu User with No Life
Posts: 3520
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2002 8:47 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Post by SuperMegatron » Fri Jun 16, 2006 8:17 am

Did the study count the people in british commonwealths?
User avatar
Hawq
Soul Sold for DCEmu
Soul Sold for DCEmu
Posts: 7817
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2002 1:43 pm
Location: Great Britain
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Post by Hawq » Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:18 pm

BlackAura wrote:
An idiot wrote:Mr Johnson is right to admit the scale of the problem after nine years of Labour government
Let's do a little basic maths, shall we?

GCSEs are taken at the age of 16. So, working under the assumption that it's entirely the Labour government's fault, and under the assumption that everybody suddenly got stupider the instant they were elected,
The ones that voted for em sure did, tohugh admittidly they didnt have far to go to get there
Image
The Prisoner - Makes NGE's ending look almost intelligible.
theres no-one else to blame

Bored? figure out where the above lines from. Answers
Lartrak
DCEmu Respected
DCEmu Respected
Posts: 6166
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2002 9:28 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Post by Lartrak » Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:47 pm

butters wrote:
Ex-Cyber wrote:
butters wrote:While we are discussing English, punctuation is supposed to go inside the quotes.
That's in US English. )()(
Hmm apparently it is. I've never seen any published work using British English, so I didn't know this was the case.
That reminds me. I've had teachers correct me for using British spellings, which bugs the hell out of me. I'm not talking stuff like aluminium, but stuff like theatre VS theater.
How to be a Conservative:
You have to believe everything that has ever gone wrong in the history of your country was due to Liberals.
User avatar
Hawq
Soul Sold for DCEmu
Soul Sold for DCEmu
Posts: 7817
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2002 1:43 pm
Location: Great Britain
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Post by Hawq » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:04 pm

Tell em theyre wrong, the British invented the language so our way is right. Actually on second thoughts they'll probably give you crappy grades if you do that so best not.
Image
The Prisoner - Makes NGE's ending look almost intelligible.
theres no-one else to blame

Bored? figure out where the above lines from. Answers
Orange_Ribbon
DCEmu's Cheerleader
Posts: 2553
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 7:38 pm
Location: Insert Witty Comment here
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Post by Orange_Ribbon » Fri Jun 16, 2006 5:03 pm

LORD I am a nerd. When I saw the answer Ket I thought Ohhhh I can take this, and grade myself to see how I am!! Woot!!
Lartrak
DCEmu Respected
DCEmu Respected
Posts: 6166
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2002 9:28 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Post by Lartrak » Sun Jun 18, 2006 3:56 pm

Hawq wrote:Tell em theyre wrong, the British invented the language so our way is right. Actually on second thoughts they'll probably give you crappy grades if you do that so best not.
Well, most of the American spellings are an improvement (stupid unneccassary U's :lol:), and it has only happened once since I entered college, so I can't complain a whole lot. The teacher who did correct me on spelling it as theatre was a real ninny though.
How to be a Conservative:
You have to believe everything that has ever gone wrong in the history of your country was due to Liberals.
User avatar
toastman
Iron Fist of Justice
Iron Fist of Justice
Posts: 4933
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 3:08 am
Location: New Orleans
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Post by toastman » Sun Jun 18, 2006 8:26 pm

butters wrote:
BoneyCork wrote:
Egotistical EvilN wrote:
He added: "We know that millions have been spent on this problem so why does it continue? Why do we still have so few 16-year-olds that pass English and maths?"
:lol:
In English the word is "Maths", as a shortened version of the word "Mathematics".
While we are discussing English, punctuation is supposed to go inside the quotes. Doing this bugs the crap out of me, but the rules are the rules.
Putting inappropriate punctuation inside of quotes bugs the crap out of me. It doesn't make the logical structure of the sentence apparent.
No signature.
User avatar
butters
Classic Games Lover
Classic Games Lover
Posts: 5088
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 6:50 pm
Location: Lubbock, Texas, United States, Sol 3, Milky Way Galaxy
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Post by butters » Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:01 pm

toastman wrote:
butters wrote:
BoneyCork wrote:
Egotistical EvilN wrote:
He added: "We know that millions have been spent on this problem so why does it continue? Why do we still have so few 16-year-olds that pass English and maths?"
:lol:
In English the word is "Maths", as a shortened version of the word "Mathematics".
While we are discussing English, punctuation is supposed to go inside the quotes. Doing this bugs the crap out of me, but the rules are the rules.
Putting inappropriate punctuation inside of quotes bugs the crap out of me. It doesn't make the logical structure of the sentence apparent.
Agreed. Anyone who's ever done any programming is wondering why they are putting a comma at the end of a String. I have to remind myself to put the commas inside the quotes for any kind of formal paper.
404NotFound
DCEmu Ex-Mod
DCEmu Ex-Mod
Posts: 4970
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2001 3:40 pm
Location: The Canadian-Mexican border.
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Post by 404NotFound » Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:57 am

OMG americans are teh dumb omg!!111


Wait.. Britan?
Post Reply