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GCSE and A Level Maths

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Hunken, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. I have a very able year 8 pupil, who will be doing his GCSE Maths from next year. I could actually enter him now and with a bit of extra help should be able to get an A*. I don't want to do that because we will run out of things for him to do in the next couple of years and we already have some cases like that. So I started giving him some lessons in C1 and so far he has handled it better than most of my A Level Maths students. Now is my questions,
    1. I could actually enter him for C1 next January (May is a little bit too soon because I only have him 1 hour per week for C1). Can he do C1 before he even takes the first module of GCSE?
    2. This question might not be relevant for now. If he does not get a good grade for C1 ( I expect >90% or more) and he retakes it. I read somewhere that certain universities do not favour students, who have to retake their A Level module. Is that true?
    Thank you in advance for any answers.

  2. he can, yes, but why would he do C1 so early

    when do you expect him to take the rest

    he can not have too big a gap between first and last GCE exam

    universities do not like retakes
  3. KYP

    KYP New commenter

    Why the pressure to do exams? What about stretch and challenge using resources like nrich, or the maths challenges from the UKMT (http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/). If you want to go down the exam line, there are the FSMQs.
    A couple of years back we had a very able student who hadn't been accelerated through maths. He went through the ordinary 11-16 comprehensive then sixth form college route, got into the British Maths Olympiad team and is now doing very well studying maths at Cambridge. Without the pressure on the maths, he also excelled in all subjects and is a well-rounded student.
  4. I can't decide what to do with him and I don't want him to get bored. Finding extension work and searching on nRich for 3 lessons every week has worn me down. So maybe I'm taking the easy option here but I need something that he can self study in a constructive way. I am trying to teach him other things as well.
    We got a similar kid who, with a bit of help from his teacher, just self taught himself and took 3 units of A Level Maths already. He just started another one. Where do you think we should go with them?
    Back to my pupil, he will start his GCSE in year 9 and will complete it at the end of year 10. So I think I can delay entering him until then.
  5. Thank you for your advice.
    He is doing the Maths challenge stuff and nRich questions (which I sometimes give him for HW) and is doing the Intermediate challenge tomorrow.
    I was in my country IMO squad when I was in college so I could teach him into that direction as well. But honestly I don't want to turn him into a Maths geek. He is still doing well in other subjects and playing rugby like any normal 13 years old.
    However in my opinion, if he has something to aim for, he works even harder. I don't have to enter him for exams. I am just considering options for him at the moment.
  6. KYP

    KYP New commenter

    You need to bear in mind facts like Oxford University asking for A* in Maths AL and A* in Further Maths A level from next year to study maths.(That means an A overall and 90% average on C3 and C4, and 90% on three A2 units for Further Maths
    Why not contact a local university or SFC to see if they can give some ideas / support?
    I see the UKMT runs a mentoring scheme, with monthly problem sheets.If you have very gifted students, mathematically, they should be able to advise you.
  7. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    This made me see red! I'm not specifically having a go at you Hunken, but I'm certain that this kind of thinking is common in far too many schools. In fact, I strongly suspect that a large percentage of maths teachers are terrified of being upstaged by a very bright student. One IMO medalist that I met on a training camp told me how annoyed his teacher would get when he suggested a better way of doing something.

    To be absolutely brutal about this, if a maths department has teachers with ability, who take a genuine interest in their subject [outside the classroom] there is absolutely no way that they should run out of material for very able students.
  8. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Yes but it's not quite that simple, David.
    We all have limited time to do the things we'd like to do and finding and, more to the point, supporting the extra material can be a significant extra workload.
    And, when next year, the bright child has a different teacher, who, even if we had the time, may not, then what?
    Plus, of course, whatever is being done has to fit somehow into a timetable that isn't designed to stretch any individual learner but is there to maximise use of rooms and staff.
  9. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    On another thread I mentioned MEI maths which offers sufficient extension at A level for students to cover the equivalent of 1.5 A-levels beyond Maths and Further Maths. The additional maths curriculum is where I would start (FSMQ) for extension work before moving on to AS modules. There need be no hurry to move up the levels, and consolidation is still important.
  10. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Totally agree about the limited time. However, my experience is that given the right books/ handouts most very bright students can then do a lot without too much help. As for finding the extra material, I just assumed that, like me, someone who was very keen would probably have a bookshelf or two of the stuff.
  11. DM

    DM New commenter

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