STEM project 2014

The purpose of the 2014 HEA STEM project was to investigate the mathematical and statistical requirements in a range of discipline areas.

For some time there has been concern about the mathematical and statistical skills of undergraduate students embarking on degree courses in a range of disciplines. Mathematical and statistical skills are fundamental tools which students need to understand and appreciate academic literature and research findings. It has become obvious that the UK HE sector needs to make clear to the secondary sector the true extent of the need for mathematical and statistical skills in a wide range of subject areas.

The project identified a need for mathematical and statistical skills in the following subjects:

  • Business and Management
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Psychology

As part of the project, we commissioned reports from discipline experts to provide strong evidence that informed developments within the disciplines and promote dialogue between the HE and pre-HE sectors. We also conducted surveys of staff and students and hosted a series of discussion events. These brought together teachers, lecturers and other interested stakeholders to discuss the questions being considered by the project. A literature review and other desk-based activities also took place.

This project complements our existing work in the area and has a strong focus on the transition into HE study in these subject areas.

Project reports

The report Mathematical transitions: a report on the mathematical and statistical needs of students undertaking undergraduate studies in various disciplines (24 June 2014) summarises the findings of the project and contains reports from discipline experts and examples of similar work in other disciplines. It introduces some high-level contextual evidence from the pre-HE sector, in particular data about trends in public examinations, and highlights important policy developments in pre-HE mathematics education.

The report also includes high level recommendations regarding mathematics and statistics within the context of other disciplines, with a particular focus on the point of transition into HE. You can also download the related reports in the series: