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

February 12, 2018

France's government is worried about how many of its schoolchildren consider themselves "stupid at math."

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

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

The urges better math 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 math.

Explore further: Engaging children in math at home equals a boost in more than just math skills

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