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Many New South Wales (NSW) technology teachers continue to express the concern that the performance of their students in the NSW Engineering Studies Higher School Certificate (HSC) examination is compromised by poor performance on engineering mechanics questions requiring mathematical calculations. While concern about the increasingly poor mathematics skills of school students in general has been noted in Australia and internationally, it would appear the issue is far more critical for subjects like Engineering Studies where the capacity to manipulate mathematical equations is fundamental to gaining an appreciation of many engineering concepts and their application. This issue is complex in that while these students do not necessarily require specific skill development in the application of advanced mathematical concepts such as calculus or differential equations they do benefit from the confidence to interpret and then solve engineering mechanics problems involving for example the analysis of graphs, the application of trigonometry and the manipulation of mathematical formulae.

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Conference Paper

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