There are five mathematics courses offered at Governor Stirling Senior High School: two General courses and three Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) courses. Each course is organised into four units; units 1 and 2 are taken in Year 11 while units 3 and 4 are offered in Year 12. The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) examination for each of the three ATAR courses is based on Units 3 and Units 4 only.
The courses are differentiated, each focusing on a pathway that will meet the learning needs of a particular group of senior secondary students.
Mathematics Foundations is a General course which focuses on building the capacity, confidence and disposition to use mathematics to meet the numeracy standard for the WACE. This course is for students who have not demonstrated the numeracy standard in the OLNA. It provides students with the knowledge, skills and understanding to solve problems across a range of contexts including personal, community and workplace/employment. This course provides the opportunity for students to prepare for post-school options of employment and further training.
Mathematics Essential is a General course which 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. This course provides the opportunity for students to prepare for post-school options of employment and further training.
Mathematics Applications is an ATAR course which 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 questions that involve analysing univariate and bivariate data, including time series data.
Mathematics Methods is an ATAR course which 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.
Mathematics Specialist is an ATAR course which provides opportunities, beyond those presented in the Mathematics Methods ATAR course, to develop rigorous mathematical arguments and proofs, and to use mathematical models more extensively. The Mathematics Specialist ATAR course contains topics in functions and calculus that build on and deepen the ideas presented in the Mathematics Methods ATAR course, as well as demonstrate their application in many areas. This course also extends understanding and knowledge of statistics and introduces the topics of vectors, complex numbers and matrices. The Mathematics Specialist ATAR course is the only ATAR mathematics course that should not be taken as a stand-alone course.