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 Post subject: Maths under threat
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:06 pm
Posts: 137
Did anyone else read the letter in The Times from the heads at Habs, Wellington, Manchester, RGS, Perse, Tonbridge, and more schools about the new A level reforms?

'We are deeply concerned about the likey impact of current A level reforms on mathematics. The subject's rising poularity could be reversed by unintended consequences of reforms on maths in state and independent schools.

Maths is generally taught in a unique way. It is often settled, and accelerated. Unlike any other subject, A level maths requires six papers, or modules, rather than four. It has two A levels; Maths, and the much harder, Further Maths. Both exams, however, have the same A level status.

Two consequences of change radically threaten Maths. First, conditional offers from top universites increasingly (and in medicine almost exclusively) recognise only A levels sat simultaneously. This discourages pupils from taking Maths early, and Further Maths at all.

Second, modules now occur only in June, not also in January. students taking double maths therefore have fewer sessions, for their larger number of exams. a typical student taking Double Maths will take 12 exams in two sittings as opposed to four in two sittings for a single subject; and this load can no longer be spread. This weight of examining will deter still more pupils from studying Further Maths.

We urge ministers to preserve the study of Further Maths, perhaps by awarding it a different name, status or structure.'

It is pertinent to us, as I was just looking at the number of exams AS students will be sitting next summer and thinking that I would be discouraging my son from taking so many A levels next year, particularly Further Maths. I foolishly thought that they would be condensing modules into one exam so there were less exams! There will be plenty of clashes next year and alot more fraught teenagers (and parents!).


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 Post subject: Re: Maths underr threat
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:40 pm
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My daughter has taken AS exams in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, maths and Further Maths this summer. She will drop Physics for A2, but it left her with 12 exams this year and 10 next.


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 Post subject: Re: Maths underr threat
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
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Interesting - I'll try to find it on-line.
Sons' school is looking into re-organising how they do the Maths/FMaths at the moment.
Those taking both used to take 3 modules at each of the 4 sittings during 6th form.

A fair number take FMaths as an extra subject (either at AS or right through to A2) but this is going to be in danger of having a detrimental effect on their other subjects now.


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 Post subject: Re: Maths under threat
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 9:03 pm
Posts: 120
Sallyltb wrote:
My daughter has taken AS exams in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, maths and Further Maths this summer.


DS has just done the same; in my opinion the workload for Maths and Further Maths has been at least as much and probably more than for the three sciences combined during Y12. DS isn't showing much enthusiasm for dropping any of his subjects and my concern is that the volume of Maths work at A2 will dilute the grades that he might otherwise have achieved in the science subjects.

Having said that, his OCR exam timetable was quite kind and spread evenly over five weeks so it would certainly help if the same happened at A2. But getting some of the modules out of the way in January 2014 would have been even better!


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