We analysed year 12 enrolment data for mathematics subjects in more detail.
The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) identified 4 levels of maths subject. From lowest to highest, they are:
- elementary (generally non-ATAR)
- elementary (ATAR)
ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) is the main criterion for Australian student entry into university. An ATAR subject is eligible to contribute to the calculation of a student’s ATAR.
The total number of enrolments in maths subjects at all levels has decreased for both girls and boys since 2013.
The proportion of enrolments for girls has remained the same or increased for most levels of mathematics subjects since 2013. The exception is elementary (generally non-ATAR) maths, where the proportion of girls has decreased.
For higher mathematics subjects, the proportion of enrolments for girls increased from 36% in 2013 to 37% in 2021. Higher mathematics has the lowest proportion of girls out of all levels.
About the data
Year 12 subject choice data was provided by the Australian Government Department of Education. The Department of Education derived enrolment information from data supplied by state and territory curriculum, assessment and certification authorities.
Education departments were requested to supply only enrolments in tertiary accredited subjects. VET subjects in schools were included. Mathematics courses included in the elementary (generally non-ATAR) category are tertiary accredited but correspond more closely to Essential Mathematics in the Australian Curriculum.
Data is a count of enrolments only. This means a student enrolled in multiple subjects in the same field will be counted for each enrolment. For example, the same student enrolled in an accounting subject and a business management subject will count as 2 enrolments for the management and commerce field.
Department of Education data included subject name and key learning area (KLA), both of which were supplied by state and territory education departments. To ensure consistency across states/territories and years, we classified all subjects according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED).
To make determinations we used the supplied subject name and KLA. We also used the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) School Subject Coder and state and territory curriculum websites to determine subjects where required.
Years refer to the calendar year of enrolment.
Mathematics data is shown by level for subjects in the mathematical sciences field. Information on mathematics subject levels was provided by Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI).
View AMSI resources.
Read more about our methodology and this data.