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For Australia to improve in maths, policymakers need to make a plan and stick to it

Australia is struggling to improve its performance in maths due to a lack of continuity in policymaking.

While Australia tends to plan in three-year cycles, the countries that are performing the best – or making significant improvements – in international rankings for maths, such as Singapore, Finland and Japan – tend to revise their maths curriculum every five to six years.

This allows teachers to become fully acquainted with new initiatives and provides time for the bedding down of any changes to previous practice. It also allows curriculum developers and system administrators to evaluate the effectiveness of innovations.

So what impact has a lack of continuity had on maths education in Australia?

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