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GCSE in one year

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by granata, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    I teach GCSE in a FE college. We do the course over one academic year (September to June) for both 16 to 19s resitting and adults. For the past 5 years we've done AQA modular; doing module 1 in November, module 3 in March and module 5 in June and we'll be starting the new spec in September.
    Looking at the new spec I can't see how I can do unit 1 in time for the November exam, in which case I'm thinking of going back to the linear scheme (seems we might all end up doing this anyway if the government gets its way!). It's a pity because our students like the modular scheme, especially the adults who usually arrive completely terrified of maths and like the idea of smaller exams as we go along.
    Anyone out there in the same situation or got any ideas? I'm open to swapping exam boards if there is a better option out there.
     
  2. Hi all,
    I teach GCSE in a FE college. We do the course over one academic year (September to June) for both 16 to 19s resitting and adults. For the past 5 years we've done AQA modular; doing module 1 in November, module 3 in March and module 5 in June and we'll be starting the new spec in September.
    Looking at the new spec I can't see how I can do unit 1 in time for the November exam, in which case I'm thinking of going back to the linear scheme (seems we might all end up doing this anyway if the government gets its way!). It's a pity because our students like the modular scheme, especially the adults who usually arrive completely terrified of maths and like the idea of smaller exams as we go along.
    Anyone out there in the same situation or got any ideas? I'm open to swapping exam boards if there is a better option out there.
     
  3. IIRC you dont have to sit the units in order with AQA? (may be wrong)
    Personally I would opt for the 1380 linear edexcel (assuming they will run it, if not the edexcel replacement). By far the easiest linear paper from my experience and have a great 1 year SOW to support it. There are lots of nice resources available and there are lots of good books to support the course.
    Doing linear allows a november sitting too for those who want to do foundation and then try higher in the summer as some learners are ready buy november depending on prior experience.
    If you are results driven then, again, in my experience, OCR/MEI would be worth avoiding as they are thorough (which I believe they should be) but are often hard for weaker students to access (from experience)
     
  4. A couple of points...
    1. You can do either Unit 1 or Unit 2 first with AQA. In fact, I think you can do Unit 3 first if you like, but students must sit Unit 1 and Unit 2 in the same session to achieve accreditation for their GCSE.
    2. Edexcel is the easier, but is it the right exam board to choose for students in an FE College???
    3. Linear would probably be the better option. For me if the students there know they've only got a couple of cracks at getting a good grade then it's better than taking advantage of the multiple combinations that the modular course can throw up - the less chances the students have, the more importance it'll place on the exam at the end.
     
  5. Oh and another point...
    4. We're doing Unit 1 Sept-March, Unit 2 March-Nov, Unit 3 Nov-June. I feel it better reflects the change in balance between the units...
     
  6. Hi Granata
    The change in weighting of units will undoubtedly mean many Heads of Department running one year courses are rethinking their entry strategy. Like you, I'm interested to hear the views of people in your position. I do know that some HoDs, who feel the November exams will be on them too quickly, are now planning a "semi-linear" approach, using the new unitised specification (4360), by taking both Unit 1 & Unit 2 in March and then Unit 3 in the Summer. I'm sure that some colleges are also considering the linear option which has the advantage of simplicity and leaves you free to concentrate on teaching for the whole year. However, as you point out, modular courses have always been popular with teachers and learners in FE.
    Although we're shortly to publish one year Route Maps, that will offer suggested routes through the course, I appreciate that the wide variety of learners in the FE sector means it is impossible to offer a 'one size fits all' model. For the unitised spec, it may be that a 2-1-3 approach suits adult learners more, as Unit 2 has less of the AO2/AO3 problem solving questions, and less functionality. Consequently, it focuses on mathematics that might be more familiar to those returning to education after a break. For those straight out of GCSE, 1-2-3 might suit better as they are likely to be more familiar with questions in context, but might need time to build up their mathematical competency in areas such as algebra.
    If you're working with Post-16 students, the Certificate in Use of Maths (not to be confused with AS Use of Maths) may be an alternative approach worth looking at as it is specifically designed for this group of learners.
    I hope you get some more suggestions from other colleges. I'd be happy to discuss your specific situation and offer some guidance. You can call me on 0161 958 3852 or email me on mathematicsgcse@aqa.org.uk I can also put you in touch with one of our Maths Advisers for additional guidance and support.
    Regards,
    Andrew Taylor, Head of AQA GCSE Mathematics
     
  7. Thanks Andrew,

    I think I spoke to you about this at a lanch meeting last year in Manchester!
    I don't think the Certificate in Use Of Maths is something we could do, unless universtities start accepting it - most of our adult students need GCSE to progress onto PGCEs or nursing. I've considered doing unit 2 first, but again I'm not sure about having enough time - I think I will have 8 weeks (2 hours a week) before the November exam. Doing both 1 and 2 in March, followed by 3 in June will probably be the best route (or do the linear route), but I'd be interested what other colleges are going to do.

     
  8. I teach Adult (16 - 75) - GCSE Maths in FE and have to get by with 30 weeks of evening 2 hour lessons. I do a Foundation & Higher course. I am forced in to Linear (AQA) to minimise time off work for the students. I give all the students a maths assessment exercise before we start to split the group into the correct groups. (Also taking account of previous results). I cannot afford to waste a minute, so my lessons are clear and focused on a specific topic per week, and I use AQA All about maths to show some exam questions on that topic each week. I need to give homework each session (On-line works best for me), and be in contact with the group regularly with website links, exercises, and later past paper sets to work on. Its quite presurised for the students, and one or two may fall on the way (Usually quite early on), but about 65% get their target grade. I also start with the easier topics to build adult confidence - (after some horror stories from schools!) and gradually move to grade D and C topics. Its usually quite surprising how much they actually remember, so some topics are easy - but some need more time. My advice is go to linear, and build confidence through the year - plenty of relevant homework and encouragement go along way.
     

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