Nurturing Mathematical Talent: An International Perspective. Anca Mustata, Lecturer, School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Cork. Performance of Irish students in international standardized tests (PISA); Percentage of students taking on Higher Maths. Why Project Maths?.
Nurturing Mathematical Talent:An International Perspective
Lecturer, School of Mathematical Sciences,
University College Cork
Performance of Irish students in international standardized tests (PISA);
Percentage of students taking on Higher Maths.
Is there a dominant educational component in economic development?
from the simple to the complex.
Compare with economic data: ( from the World Economic Forum)
Global competitiveness index (2010-2011)
Innovation output: number of patents for invention
per million population
Ireland: relatively good PISA
standing, relatively low
USA innovative, competitive economy, though PISA results quite worrying;
Finland: best PISA results,
well balanced economic
and innovation outputs.
(World economic forum data)
(minimum 5+1/2 years of university education).
Finland's Education Minister:''The Finnish system supports very much those pupils who have learning difficulties but we have to pay more attention also to those pupils who are very talented. Now we have started a pilot project about how to support those pupils who are very gifted in certain areas.''
PISA performance at the highest level:
-Finland missed a notch.
-Ireland’s placement static in rapport to previous PISA graph, but the direction of the growth line has been switched!
-USA, Israel results consistently low.
“ One Mile Wide and One Inch Deep”
To check consistency of the claim:
Is there any measurement indicating high performance in mathematics
among secondary school youth in countries like the USA, Israel?
Two days x 4 ½ hours = 6 questions, full proofs required.
Country results by year:
- IMTA Junior Mathematics Competition;
- IMTA: Pi Quiz is for Junior Cert students;
- IMTA: Team Math;
- NUI Galway: PRISM;
∙Mathematics enrichment programmes for 2nd level students
(volunteer academic staff at U. Limerick, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, UCC, UCD)
A strong support network for youth with an interest for mathematics, in particular during primary school/Junior cert cycle, offering sustained experience with
-- constructing elaborate arguments and complex strategies;
-- questions requiring lengthy, in-depth exploration;
-- the playful side of mathematics;
-- interaction with like-minded peers.
Musical abilities, athletic abilities are sustained through intense special training, why should mathematical abilities be any different?
Support network for youth (12-18 year old):
-a sense of community
-an ethos of giving!
National School Town or County National
district or city
Lack of internal rewards led to:
Transfer of ideas, structures, and ethos:
Talent transfer to Western countries:
IT outsourcing to Eastern Europe
-Academic staff in all major
UCC Maths - 4 CS -1
TCD Maths - 6
UCD Maths -3
- began over 100 years ago in Eastern Europe, have been flourishing there and in Russia and Asia for generations.
- emphasize exploration and discovery.
- largely regarded as main reason for successes in youth math competitions
- in the United States since 1988, hugely spread today, large www presence
-Dedicated teachers for dedicated students.
-Friendship, encouragement and support.
We need both!
- weekly, or every other week;
- pair up with 1-2 colleagues, take turns;
- free, or charge;
- junior cert, or leaving cert;
- Google up “math circles” for
- Have fun!
What you can do: Start a math circle!
What we can do: