Encouraging girls’ participation in advanced maths

Advanced maths qualifications benefit all students who’ve passed GCSE Mathematics, however currently a lower proportion of girls opt for them than boys.

On this page you’ll find information and ideas for how you can help more girls to realise their full potential by choosing advanced maths options, including:

  • research into girls’ participation in advanced maths
  • data for level 3 maths and other subjects
  • strategies to increase girls’ participation
  • resources to help you implement those strategies
  • an opportunity to ‘Dig Deeper’ into any areas of particular interest.

For a general overview, we recommend that you read our Girls' participation in advanced maths factsheet.

Girls’ participation in advanced maths factsheet

Sources and data for this factsheet

There are five main factors, which school practice could influence, that affect students’ participation in post-16 maths:

  • prior attainment in maths
  • enjoyment
  • perceived competence
  • interest in maths
  • awareness of its utility in supporting access to other areas (careers, courses and solving everyday problems)

Gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status interact with these factors and are also significant in affecting participation.

Evidence:

Dig deeper:

If you want to explore other relevant research into gender and participation in maths (and other STEM subjects).

These charts show entries to level 3 maths qualifications:

  • by gender
  • over time
  • regional variations in girls' participation
  • and the gender balance across all A level subjects.

They could be used with school leaders to inform whole school policy on issues like gender equality and post-16 pathways.

Dig deeper:

You can view the latest government data (.xlsx) on participation rates by gender, region, local authority and individual school. This could be used to assess the girls’ participation rates in your local area and compare them with the national picture.

From the research referred to above, and within the Girls' participation in advanced maths factsheet, you can find a number of successful strategies covering in-class pedagogy, messaging to parents, use of data, promoting post-16 pathways, and more.

You can use this girls' participation self-audit resource to review your own or your department’s strategy and identify aspects to develop.

Dig deeper:

For further resources and tools to support gender equality within school that come highly recommended.

The AMSP has produced a range of resources that you can use to inform and inspire your students about post-16 maths.

The research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to take A level Mathematics alongside non-STEM A level subjects, and so showing how maths can be used in other subjects can be encouraging. The 'Core Maths in other subjects' postcards and posters highlight this to students and our suite of 'Why study maths?' resources explain how maths is important for a wide variety of future careers. The 'Opening the door to your future' leaflet is aimed at students and parents and explores the different post-16 maths qualifications that are available.

To help increase students' enjoyment of maths, we have a selection of enrichment resources that you can use with students in a lesson, as part of a regular club, or as a one-off enrichment activity. We also deliver enrichment events that you and your students can take part in.

Research also suggests that girls particularly appreciate the opportunity to try out new material before committing themselves to a course. We have produced six online taster lessons – two each for Core Maths, A level Mathematics, and A level Further Mathematics. These give students a flavour of what it is like to study each of these qualifications. Each consists of an introductory video followed by an interactive lesson for the student to work through at their own pace.

Dig deeper:

Here you'll find recommended activities and opportunities to help you inspire your students with what they can achieve through studying maths further after GCSEs. Some of the resources are for you to use with students and some are simply for you to signpost to students and parents to explore themselves.

If you would like to explore these ideas further, or if you have anything that you would like to contribute, please get in touch at [email protected].