Prospect of higher salaries makes maths more attractive


Teenagers would be more likely to study maths at A-level if they were told what salaries it would help them earn in future, according to new research.

The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation and to be presented to the Society for Research into Higher education’s annual conference today, indicates that it would be a far more effective intervention than simply making maths compulsory until 18.

“We found that the expectation of a higher salary increased take-up of maths quite considerably,” said Professor Peter Davies of Birmingham University, who led the research.

Researchers were given control of a one-hour lesson at 50 schools in England. Pupils who received the information on graduate earnings were 39 per cent more likely to study maths than those who did not.

Professor Davies added: “What we now know for sure from this research is that better information about graduate salaries would increase take-up of maths and would do so cheaply, without having to coerce children into studying it.”