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Why are the British bad at maths?

Teaching methods are one reason—but the English language doesn’t help

By David Tall   May 2014

“What is the secret to Asia’s attainment in maths—and can Britain learn it?”

© Mark Bowden/ istock

In a series of international mathematics tests in 2012, British teens reached only the average score. Shanghai’s school children came top of the list, with results that showed them to be the equivalent of three years of schooling ahead of Britain’s children. The UK government is now bringing over 60 maths teachers from Shanghai to introduce Chinese teaching methods to Britain, in the hope that this will raise standards.

But why are the…

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