The Senior Secondary Australian Curriculum: Mathematics consists of four subjects in mathematics, with each subject organised into four units. The subjects are differentiated, each focusing on a pathway that will meet the learning needs of a particular group of senior secondary students.
Essential Mathematics focuses on using mathematics effectively, efficiently and critically to make informed decisions. It provides students with the mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding to solve problems in real contexts for a range of workplace, personal, further learning and community settings. It also provides the opportunity for students to prepare for post-school options of employment or further training.
General Mathematics focuses on the use of mathematics to solve problems in contexts that involve financial modelling, geometric and trigonometric analysis, graphical and network analysis, and growth and decay in sequences. It also provides opportunities for students to develop systematic strategies based on the statistical investigation process for answering statistical questions that involve analysing univariate and bivariate data, including time series data.
Mathematical Methods focuses on the use of calculus and statistical analysis. The study of calculus provides a basis for understanding rates of change in the physical world, and includes the use of functions, their derivatives and integrals, in modelling physical processes. The study of statistics develops students’ ability to describe and analyse phenomena that involve uncertainty and variation.
Specialist Mathematics provides opportunities, beyond those in Mathematical Methods, to develop rigorous mathematical arguments and proofs, and to use mathematical models more extensively. Specialist Mathematics contains topics in functions and calculus that build on and deepen the ideas presented in Mathematical Methods as well as demonstrate their application in many areas. Specialist Mathematics also extends students’ understanding and knowledge of probability and statistics and introduces the topics of vectors, complex numbers and matrices. It is the only mathematics subject that cannot be taken as a stand-alone subject.