Assumed knowledge in maths: Its broad impact on tertiary STEM programs

13 February 2014 to 14 February 2014

RSVP by 3 February 2014 at:

The First Year in Maths Project and the Institute of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education invites you to

A National Forum on

Assumed knowledge in maths: its broad impact on tertiary STEM programs
Does the level of maths preparation affect your students' progression in physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics and engineering? There is increasing awareness that many students entering STEM degree programs do not possess the assumed knowledge in mathematics required to succeed. This is not only evident to academics teaching mathematics in first year, but across also other disciplines such as science and engineering, where students struggle to apply mathematical skills in the context of their discipline. Universities are developing a range of responses to the deficit in mathematical skills and knowledge, but the challenges of designing and delivering the STEM curriculum to under prepared students remains.

This forum will be relevant to academics with an interest in teaching and learning across science, technology, engineering and maths disciplines. It will provide a unique opportunity for academics to discuss the broad impact that assumed knowledge, rather than hard pre-requisites, has on tertiary programs. This will include their perspective on student enrolment, subject development, student progression/retention and expectations across STEM disciplines and the consequent workload implications. Representatives of peak bodies and curriculum authorities will be invited to attend.

Participants will have an opportunity to share experiences and to develop strategies for moving the debate forward. Presentations from key scientists and academics researching in this area will provide context for extended discussion and consideration of possible solutions.


The event will be held over two days.

You can download the program here

Day 1 The forum will be opened with a keynote address by Professor Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist of Australia. There will be snapshots presented from different universities across the country, group discussions on key challenges and responses by institutions and a panel session.

Day 2 will focus on developing strategies. to address issues raised in Day 1. There will be a keynote speaker, panel discussion followed by a Q&A session and group discussion. Professor John Rice will interpret and reflect on the discussion during the forum and provide some direction for the next steps.

Limited funds may be available to assist participants with travel costs. To be considered for assistance please contact

Call for presenters:
On Day 1 there will be a presentation session on current initiatives in maths and science teaching responding to the diverse background of students. These will be sharp 8 minute presentations followed by a brief Q&A.

Please submit an abstract no more than 500 words outlining the initiative by 10 January 2014. Those submitting abstracts may be invited to submit full papers for publication in a special issue of IJISME. Please send your abstract to:

Enquiries: If you have any questions about the program, please email For general questions relating to the event, please email

Time: Thurs 13th, 9:30am for 9:45am start, Friday 14th, 9:30am to 4:30pm

Location: Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre, The University of Sydney

Cost: Free