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Secrets to Top Math Scores in Victoria, Australia


“You have to have talent, and you have to be willing to work hard!” This sums up the high scores achieved recently by students in their state-wide math exams.

A recent article highlights the underlying secret to high scores in senior school Mathematics, in the southern state of Victoria, Australia: “In Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, Vermont Secondary College has been celebrating some impressive further maths results. A record three students at the state high school achieved a perfect study score of 50 in the most popular maths subject – and they were all in year 11.

Overall, 18 students at the state school achieved a 40-plus score in further maths.

Director of numeracy Mary Zervos attributed this success to the school’s team of young and experienced maths teachers. She said students worked tirelessly, completed many practice exams and asked questions. “You have to have talent, and you have to be willing to work hard,” she said.

“We are a community school that works with all the students in the neighbourhood to achieve the best we can for them.”

Westall Secondary College was another government school that produced some sharp further maths minds unlikely to be fazed by curly exam questions about 50 cent coins. The relatively small school in Clayton South has just over 50 year 12 students, but managed eight scores of 40 or above in the subject.

Principal Tristan Lanarus said the school had a strong maths culture, and one of its students last year represented Australia at the International Maths Olympiad.”

Recently, there has been much debate around the fact that more money does not equal better academic results. For example, Australia has poured an extra $10 billion of funding into schools over the past decade, but its students are going backwards in international rankings, having been beaten most embarrassingly last year in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science ­report by students in impoverished Kazakhstan. Yet Australia is one of the biggest spenders on education, outlaying twice as much money as a percentage of GDP as top performers Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. Read more in the Daily Telegraph here.

[Ed: “Culture” features widely in some recent innovative Mathematics programs. For example, the difference between Western and Asian math scores was discussed at length here on cnbc and in this paper from Massey University – developing-mathematical-inquiry]

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