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Event: Counting them in: quantitative social science and the links between secondary and higher education

By Nuffield Foundation

Counting them in: quantitative social science and the links between secondary and higher education

Monday 17 March 2014 at the Royal Society, London
(10.30 – 16.00)

Keynote speakers include the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, and Sir Andrew Dilnot CBE, Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority.

This one-day conference will explore ways to strengthen quantitative social science training through the links between secondary and higher education. It is aimed at teachers, examiners, university lecturers, awarding bodies, learned societies and subject associations.

The UK has a shortage of social science graduates with the quantitative skills needed to evaluate evidence, analyse data, and design and commission research, skills that are increasingly in demand from employers across all sectors. Yet fewer post-16 students in the UK study maths and statistics than any other comparable country, and quantitative skills are not consistently assessed in social science A levels. This has lead to a skills deficit amongst students moving from secondary to higher education.

The conference will address some key questions:

  • How can schools provide more options for students to learn quantitative skills post-16, and encourage students to choose these options?
  • What impact will forthcoming government reforms such as the revision of GCSE and A level specification and the introduction of a post-16 core maths qualification have?
  • How can universities encourage more students to study quantitative social science by strengthening the pathways from school to university?
  • What could be done to encourage students interested in social science to stick with quantitative skills and also to interest students with strong quantitative skills to consider social science?

How to register

Email with your full name, job title, organisation and contact details, as well as any comments about your interests or opinions that might be helpful in our planning. The conference is open to all who wish to attend, and we will provide assistance with travel costs for school representatives.

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We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in EducationWelfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We offer our grant-holders the freedom to frame questions and enable new thinking. Our research must stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny, but we understand that to be successful in effecting change, it also needs to be relevant to people’s experience.