I agree that you raise a very important point about the insidious creep of innumeracy amongst ordinary people. However, simply making maths compulsory in Years 11 and 12 is akin to locking the barn door after the horse has bolted. Even year 9 and 10 maths is more than sufficient to get by in ordinary life (heck, you do parabolas and logarithms in Year 10!). The problem is that many students' skills and motivation in maths has declined so much by this point that any further exposure to the subject is of minimal benefit.

The root of the issue, in my opinion, stems from insufficient grounding in the fundamentals of mathematics at the primary school and early secondary (Years 7-8) level. Better teaching practices and higher expectations of students from the outset may better 'prime' them to view maths in a positive light, increasing the prospects of them (meaningfully) retaining the subject in Years 11/12 and beyond.

As for English being compulsory (as opposed to any other subject), I understand this is because the scaling process used by NESA works better if there is a subject that all students in the cohort sit together. Students' performances in English can then be used to compare the strengths of other subjects' candidatures, allowing NESA to determine which subjects should 'scale' better than others.

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