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. This subject provides the opportunity for students to prepare for post-school options of employment and further training.
General Mathematics focuses on using the techniques of discrete mathematics to solve problems in contexts that include financial modelling, network analysis, route and project planning, decision making, and discrete growth and decay. It provides an opportunity to analyse and solve a wide range of geometrical problems in areas such as measurement, scaling, triangulation and navigation. It also provides opportunities to develop systematic strategies based on the statistical investigation process for answering statistical questions that involve comparing groups, investigating associations and analysing time series.
Mathematical Methods focuses on the development of the use of calculus and statistical analysis. The study of calculus in Mathematical Methods provides a basis for an understanding of the physical world involving rates of change, and includes the use of functions, their derivatives and integrals, in modelling physical processes. The study of statistics in Mathematical Methods develops the ability to describe and analyse phenomena involving uncertainty and variation.
Specialist Mathematics provides opportunities, beyond those presented 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 understanding and knowledge of probability and statistics and introduces the topics of vectors, complex numbers and matrices. Specialist Mathematics is the only mathematics subject that has been designed to not be taken as a stand-alone subject.