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Teenage maths wiz takes alternative pathway to study at Curtin University

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A talented home-schooled 16-year-old is on the path to success after achieving a 99.1 per cent final grade in his first semester of a special Curtin program that helps students gain entrance to the University through alternative or non-ATAR pathways.

Connor Maynard of Yangebup, who has Asperger Syndrome, was able to enrol in the Curtin Mathematics Enrichment Program, which is open to Year 5-11 students.

Curtin Mathematics Enrichment Program coordinator Professor Louis Caccetta, from Curtin’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences, said Connor’s performance in his first semester had surpassed expectations and he was confident Connor would continue to perform at the highest level.

“Since joining Curtin’s Mathematics Enrichment Program a few years ago, Connor has demonstrated a very keen interest in mathematics and it didn’t take me long to realise he was gifted and that our program was perfect to help him to further develop his talent,” Professor Caccetta said.

“The reality at present is that not all schools cater for kids with special interests and needs, however it is hoped that talented and successful students like Connor will help pioneer new thinking in our education systems that will ultimately help provide greater learning opportunities for all people.”

“It is crucial that our education environment is accommodating for people of all cultural backgrounds and diverse talent and supports all students by acknowledging their unique strengths and needs.”

Connor’s mother Miriam Maynard said she decided to home-school Connor, his older sister, and his younger brother because she believed it was the best way to meet their academic needs.

“Connor responded incredibly well to home-schooling and went on to enter numerous national maths competitions where he always achieved the highest possible score and won many prizes,” Mrs Maynard said.

“His entry into Curtin was on the strength of a portfolio which provided evidence of his achievements especially in mathematics and other areas. He also sat the STAT (Special Tertiary Admissions Test) exams and did brilliantly.

“One semester into the program at Curtin and Connor is happy and enjoying being able to realise his long-held dream of studying mathematics at Curtin. Myself and Connor’s father James, who himself graduated from Curtin with first class honours in mathematics, are incredibly proud and excited for our son’s future.”

The Curtin Mathematics Enrichment Program is now in its 22nd year and has been completed by thousands of students, many of whom have gone on to complete degrees at Curtin. The Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) Mathematics program was introduced in 2017 and has been undertaken by many mathematically talented students that will be seeking entry through non- ATAR entry to tertiary studies.

For more information about AASQA visit here and for details about Curtin’s Maths Enrichment Program visit here.

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