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ICE at odds with members over maths requirements

ICE news

UNIVERSITIES SHOULD still be allowed to take civils students without A level maths even though 88% of engineers think the qualification should be mandatory, the ICE has said.

The ICE/Institution of Structural Engineers Joint Board of Moderators decided to do away with the A level maths requirement for civils degrees last year after 50% of A level maths students dropped the subject halfway through their two-year syllabus.

But a survey of more than 500 readers published by sister magazine NCE last month shows that a huge majority - 88% of respondents - regard A level maths as essential grounding for a civil engineering degree.

The ICE believes A level maths is no longer a definitive test of the numeracy needed by all civil engineers.

Instead, it wants to leave the decision to the universities, thus encouraging greater diversity in the types of courses on offer.

'While we are not expecting all courses to drop the requirement for A level maths, some universities may choose to run a different course that leads to a different end product, ' said ICE professional development director Jon Prichard.

'This helps provide diversity of civil engineering courses and may attract more to the profession.'

The ICE's stance gained a mixed reaction from academia.

'You need maths to understand the fundamentals, ' said UMIST director of undergraduate studies Ian Whyte, who is chairman of the Association of Civil Engineering Departments.

Survey results

88% of NCE readers believe engineers should have A level maths, but only 22% see it as vital to their current job. A further 22% see it as important, while 17% see it of little use and 15% see it as irrelevant.

93% believe that civil engineers should be able to solve simultaneous equations

33% believe that civils should be able to tackle complex calculus l96% believe engineers should be able to do statics

62% saw maths standards as falling. Strength of opinion grows with age: 68% of the over 60s holding this view.

Few studied A levels other than maths, physics and chemistry.

Fewer than 3% studied a language

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