Survey: UK Parents Struggling to Help with Basic Math Homework


Of 1,000 parents of United Kingdom primary school children surveyed, 46% said that they felt ill-equipped to help their children with their math homework — especially in the long division execution.

Other areas that are proving to be difficult for parents are conversion of decimals, fractions, and percentages. Math was considered the hardest subject to help their children with by 34%, while 8% said that English was the most difficult.

"Often, parents struggle to help with children's maths homework because the method of teaching – for long division, subtraction etc – has changed. The Maths Factor sets out to specifically help parents, so parents can preview the next lesson for their child. In fact, many parents have found that they have actually got quite good at maths by watching the videos themselves."

Research published this week, commissioned by Pearson, reveals that half of the parents surveyed are not aware of the changes in the math national curriculum in the UK for primary math, introduced this September, nor are they aware that the curriculum is designed to be more challenging.

Carol Vorderman, a former television game show host, also created The Maths Factor, an online math school for primary-age children. She says that the primary years of math study are crucial to the success of students as they make their way up to the higher levels of math education. Vorderman also says that if students are struggling with math at age 11, they, for the most part, will not pass their GCSE in the subject. She wants to make sure that parents have the support and guidance they need.

The Press Association reports that about half of the parents who participated in the survey could not do math problems designed for ten-year-olds. 19% of parents said they did not feel confident about helping their children with long multiplication and 6% said helping with multiplication tables would be difficult. Only 9% said they did not find math useful in their everyday life, and 82% believe that math at the primary school can help children solve more complex problems in later life.

Vorderman agreed with the majority:

Ms Vorderman said: "Maths skills are essential in everyday life and it's perhaps concerning to see a divide opening up between those who are aware of the new curriculum and those who aren't, and between those who have the confidence to help their children and those who don't. As a parent myself, I know how busy life gets, but with a bit of support we can all easily become confident with numbers."

Despite parents admitting that they did not feel they were up to the task of helping their children with their math homework, 82% of the survey subjects said they find math useful in working life, which was second only to English at 85%, reports Aled Blake, writing for Wales News.

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