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If Maths GCSE is so easy...

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by DeborahCarol, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Quote: 'Yes, they're harder than what you'll see on a GCSE paper, but I wouldn't say it's a huge difference over the hardest GCSE questions.'
    ANYTHING is harder if you haven't been taught it.
    Quote: '...... I'm guessing the material is no longer on the GCSE syllabus.'
    The word 'syllabus' is no longer on the syllabus as GCSE's have specifications. I love reading the idiot Gove's waffle as he fills it with terms like syllabus or teacher-training-college even if no A-level or GCSE has had a syllabus for 20 years & the last teacher training COLLEGE was renamed under the last Tory government.
    Ignorance is bliss!
  2. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I can't believe some of you are still chewing over this one. It's an unwinnable argument, a bit like trying to decide whether the 1960 double winning team of Spurs was better than the current Man U side. Pointless....
  3. Each year a new crop of teachers appear.
    Each year the 'it was better in my day' brigade try to tell the new kids on the block how easy they've had things & how tough it was in their day. It is a mixture of bullying, self-justification & indoctrination.
    In 21 years time the original GCSE cohort from summer 1988 will be aged 60; they'll be telling teachers that whatever is being taught then isn't a patch on the really-hard-tough-as-nails ORIGINAL GCSE maths.
  4. sashh,
    Quyoe: 'With O Level 80% of the cohort were not even entered for the exam, of the 20% who were entered 50% failed so you are comparing an exam only 10% got A-C in with an exam 70% get an A* - C in, now does it seem easy?'
    Once again it isn't THAT easy!
    In 1976 25% of the cohort of 16 year olds got a Grade A-C in maths. Not 10%. All children at grammmar schools were entered (20%) plus a few from secondary moderns, technical schools & independent schools. The pass rate for those entered was actually very high as a very ristricted number of kids were entered; but that doesn't mean all those who passed could actually answer the hardest questions posted as being 'typical' O-level questions.
    In 2010 that figure had grown to approximately 50% of the cohort of 16 year olds getting a Grade A-C in maths. Not 70%. Now nearly all children are entered for GCSE and the highest grades are expected to answer all the questions.
    In 1976 if ALL CHILDREN had been taught & assessed at O-level that 25% would have been much higher. In 2010 if a very restricted number of kids were entered for GCSE that 50% would be much lower. What makes this really unfair is when you examine the social make-up of those kids who took O-level in 1976; that exam was as socially divisive as Russell group university selection is today.

  5. anon233
    Quote: 'I taught my step-son basic calculus as a technique for solving 'nth term' problems and find-the-equation-of-a-curved-line problems - and to get his confidence up (he only found out it was called calculus afterwards).'
    I taught my dog to sing but when asked to perform she just barked; that was beacuse I TAUGHT her but I never said she LEARNED anything! That example may indicate the difference between TEACHING and LEARNING.
    Calculus used to be on the O-level syllabus & a lot of research from the early 1980's indicated that less than 2% of children actually UNDERSTOOD calculus; yes they could differentiate or integrate by rules but they hadn't a clue what it was about. After GCSE started in 1988 calculus was rightly moved to post 16 & there, even at A-level, few reach beyond an 'operational' use. iGCSE contains calculus & having taught pupils with good grades in iGCSE I can say that still less than 2% of iGCSE pupils actually UNDERSTAND calculus......nothing changes.
    Quote: 'Anyway, he thought calculus (of the O-level std) was really easy. It's just a couple of rules that you learn and apply.'
    You said it all

  6. Amongst the many old O level/GCSE maths exam papers I have going back to the fifties. I chose at random one from 1957 and compared it with a higher linear paper (calc and non-calc) from this year (Jan). It is of course difficult to compare the two from a whole paper point of view, and in general it is difficult to argue whether the complexity of the maths was any greater in yesteryear, even with the addition of calculus. That said however, direct comparisons can be made for like-for-like algebra questions such as factorisations, rationalising denominators, simultaneous equations, simplifying indices, solving quadratics, expanding brackets, rearranging formulae and the like. Despite the fact that the present GCSE schemes of work cover all the O level algebra questions, the GCSE exam questions were embarrassingly trivial in comparison. There were no other significant algebraic modelling questions in the GCSE paper.
    Certainly it is quite clear why the present higher paper is not demanding enough for the highest ability students and is probably the reason why many potential A level students feel unprepared for the algebra in C1 when they see the expected standard from past GCSE papers in preparation for the exam.
  7. More than 30% don't pick up Grade C GCSE Maths.I have just compared the most recent statistics and they are:


    The average grade is a C and most people who are working around there will find it hard.

    The truth is that some people are better at maths than others and some people don't try to hard and some people are entered into the wrong tier.

    Although,you only need so many marks to get a C the questions and marking reflect this so that only certain percentages of people get the grades.

    It's like making up a paper of A-Level questions giving them out to GCSE students would result in very very very low grade boundaries and the same sort of system is in play her with very hard top end of GCSE questions on the paper and even though we find it easy,most people don't.

    I got 49/54 on Paper 1 Higher in Y9, which was 79/80 UMS and didn't try too hard but i love maths!!!
  8. .
    II think you found her out.
  9. I agree with the fact that the GCSEs then the O-levels. The GCSEs are aimed at 60% of pupils yet 96-98 or 100% set the exams. How should the Maths for pupils taking the exams? What do all of you think should be on the Maths exams that pupils take?
  10. Practice is the most important thing in any subject, the only problem is that practice is boring. So you have to opposing forces, the need of practice vs how kids behave when bored.

    In fact as Dan Willinghma pointed out, you solve most problems in life using memory rather than thinking. His book is brilliant.
  11. Are you a Maths teacher?
    Why I ask is becausenI'd like to know which average you are using?
    Only splitting hairs, because...well I feel like it when the term average is used on a Maths forum and we spend time addressing the misconceptions and misuse of statistics.

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