1 in 5 Brits don’t remember how to work out fractions

Research shows that British adults are struggling to remember key principles of English, Maths and Science 

New research from Oxford Open Learning Trust found that Brits are struggling to remember key English, Maths and Science principles from their school days. The distance learning provider commissioned YouGov to poll 2,000 adults to determine if we’re still confident with commas and positive about percentages, finding that many of us have forgotten even the most basic principles learned in the classroom.

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Dr Nick Smith, Courses Director and founder of Oxford Open Learning Trust, said: “Being unable to remember the mean, median and mode, or the correct use of a colon may not seem like a big deal, but the lessons we learn at school remain very much important in later life. Whether it’s working out the bill at a restaurant, writing your covering letter or helping kids with homework, basic Maths, English and Science skills are invaluable.

“Most employers will discount any applicant who seems weak in key skills like writing and arithmetic, whatever the job. Every study has shown that there is a direct link between our proficiency in basic skills, career advancement and prosperity. Indeed, there are proven links to health and happiness as well, so time spent improving our skills is time well spent.”

When it comes to Maths, one in five admitted to being unable to work out percentages and 21% said they can no longer remember how to calculate fractions. With the top three forgotten Maths principles being: mode at 35 per cent, line of best fit at 34 per cent and median 31 percent.

Punctuation was also a challenge with almost one in four admitting they don’t know when to use a semi-colon (23 per cent), 18 and percent failing to remember when to use an apostrophe and 17 per cent saying they don’t know when to use a comma.

Science is even more of a struggle, with nearly one in four (24%) failing to remember all the names of the planets in the solar system and almost one in five (19%) admitting to being unable to recall what the greenhouse effect is.

The results show that overall men are better able than women to recall the key Maths, English and Science principles listed in the survey.

To test how much you remember from your school days click here

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