A new study has found that children in the UK are more likely to be “underwhelmed” by mathematics, with many saying they’re struggling to comprehend a complex concept.
The study was carried out by the University of Reading and the Department of Education and Research at Oxford University.
In the UK, about 15 per cent of children aged between six and 11 are “understressed” by maths, according to the survey by the UK Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
It found that about 13 per cent are “very” or “very badly” overwhelmed by mathematics.
The research also found that the vast majority of children, 79 per cent, are “somewhat” or very badly overwhelmed by maths.
The survey, which polled about 6,000 children in England and Wales between July and September, found that there were two main reasons for the children’s underwhelmment: “poor” children are “a combination of underperforming and overperforming and that their teachers are not good enough to understand their problems” and they have “not had a teacher in a long time” that understands their problems.
The CEBR survey also found: “There is also evidence that teachers who are struggling with maths are perceived as not having a good grasp of the concepts behind the problems, for example, children may perceive that teachers do not know how to deal with the problem, or that their skills are not being used properly”.
But, it said, “the most important factor in under-underwhelm in maths is that children are not fully able to comprehend the concepts”.
The findings were published in the journal Psychological Science.
The report also found a clear link between under-overwhelm and “underachievement”.
“Children underwhelmed by maths were more likely than underachievers to say that their school has not taught them the ‘right’ material for the subject”, said the report.
In this instance, underachievements can be understood by the teacher in terms of “not getting the ‘correct’ result from the problem”.
But the report said that “if the problem is not easy to solve or that there are no easy answers, then under-satisfaction can be perceived as an indication of underachieving”.
And the study also found “that underachiever children are more at risk of learning poor maths skills”.
“In terms of the research, under-whelm is more likely if children are under the age of 12 years and less likely if they are under 14 years,” the report states.
The researchers said that there is “clear evidence” that “in the early years of schooling children under-struck by maths and do not show improvement in their maths skills as they grow”.
They also noted that “poor children” are more vulnerable to underachievments, because their learning “may be impaired by the presence of poor school staff and teachers”.
This could “have a negative impact on their achievement”.
The study also noted a “large proportion of under-sufferers are young children” and the “under-sufferers are more frequently under-represented in primary and secondary education”.
The report concludes that “while under-researchers have identified that poor children are at greater risk of underperformance, the impact on children is not clearly identified, or is difficult to quantify.”
The study comes as a report from the Department for Education and Science, which published a report in April on the UK’s schools, said that a third of all pupils in England do not “understand or understand” how to read.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families published a survey of over 6,200 children aged four to 15 in England between September and December 2015, and found that, “a third of pupils in primary school do not understand or understand how to use a computer.”
The report found that “a large proportion of children do not comprehend or understand a computer at school”.
The government, meanwhile, said the UK is experiencing “the greatest numbers of underprepared pupils in the history of the country”.
“Underprepared” is an inaccurate term, said an official spokesperson for the Department.
“This is a national problem which we know is very serious,” he added.
Read more: Schools ‘underprepared’ in UK? “
The Department for Schools has worked with local authorities across the country to reduce underpreparation of pupils, with an aim of achieving more prepared pupils in school by 2020.”
Read more: Schools ‘underprepared’ in UK?
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