This course is available only at Standard Level (SL), and is equivalent in status to Analysis and Approaches SL, but addresses different needs. It has an emphasis on the applications of mathematics, and the largest section is on statistical techniques. It is designed for students with varied mathematical backgrounds and abilities. It offers students opportunities to learn important concepts and techniques and to gain an understanding of a wide variety of mathematical topics. It prepares students to be able to solve problems in a variety of settings, to develop more sophisticated mathematical reasoning, and to enhance their critical thinking.
The Applications and Interpretation course recognises the increasing role that mathematics and technology play in a diverse range of fields in a data-rich world. As such, it emphasises the meaning of mathematics in context by focusing on topics that are often used as applications or in mathematical modelling. To give this understanding a firm base, this course includes topics that are traditionally part of a pre-university mathematics course such as calculus and statistics. Students are encouraged to solve real-world problems, construct and communicate this mathematically and interpret the conclusions or generalisations. The nature of Applications and Interpretation is such that it concentrates on mathematics which can be applied to contexts related, as far as possible, to other curriculum subjects, to common general world occurrences, and to topics that relate to home, work, and leisure situations. The programme includes a piece of written work based on personal research, guided and supervised by the teacher. It provides an opportunity for the student to undertake an investigation of a mathematical nature in the context of another subject in the curriculum, a hobby or interest of his choice using skills learned before and during the Applications and Interpretation course. This process allows students to ask their own questions about mathematics and to acquire ownership of a part of the programme.
The population of students most likely to select this subject are those whose main interests lie outside the field of mathematics, and for many Applications and Interpretation students this will be their last formal Mathematics course. All parts of the syllabus have been carefully selected to ensure that an approach from first principles can be used. As a consequence, students are able to use their own inherent, logical thinking skills and do not have to rely on standard algorithms and remembered formulae. Students taking this course are well prepared for a career in social sciences, humanities, languages or arts.