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Linear Only

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by pencho, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    OFQUAL today have announced that all GCSE assessment will be linear. This applies to 2 year courses starting september 2012. I owe DM a fiver.
    However students can still sit the exam at the end of the course (which does not have to be Y11), so early entry is still possible, but they just have to do a linear exam.
    It was inevitable after looking at the consultation, regardless of what was said they were still going to press ahead with what Gove wanted.
    I genuinley believe this is a step backwards for maths, considering we have had a modular alternative from the very early years of GCSE - but Mr Gove knows best.
  2. I can only agree.
  3. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    The problem is I'm not too sure what this decision does. I don't see it making things more rigourous as some people think it will. Didn't Glenys Stacey say there is no evidence to suggest modular maths is any easier to linear. If it was surely the majority would do modular, but indeed only around 30% do.
    I think more students will just be entered for more full papers as early entry has not disappeared. It does nothing (in my opinion) to address the more major issues in mathematics education.

  4. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    I think the political thing to do most of the time, is to do something that is easily understandable by the media. Then the politician can look back at election time and say ' look at what I did'.

    That seems to be both a left & right policy. Gove will be able to say his policy of creating academies has been very successful, but I would suggest that most hav only done it for money, not educational reasons.

    Will he do the same to A Level?
  5. blade68

    blade68 New commenter

    Is this actually going to be possible?
  6. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Yep. Change. That's what politicians think their job is.
    Leave us alone! That's what I think their job is.
  7. Agree.
  8. Pencho, where do you think the major issues are? I enjoy your posts and would love to hear your thoughts.

    I think many of the problems we face in maths stem from other subjects and the way they are 'taught' in schools. In some places actually 'teaching' seems to be a prohibited activity and there is a constant diet of edutainment. I'm all for different activities in lessons and I've certainly gone much more down the collaborative learning route in the past few years. In most subjects though knowledge is considered to be a very low order activity and so pupils don't get much experience of learning a body of material and then applying it. For most subjects they spend a lot of time 'applying skills' using a very limited body of knowledge.

    The above is just my own personal experience, so I'd be interested to hear if others share that feeling.
  9. I think it's the best thing that Mr Gove has done.
    Reduces the game playing by schools. Stops students having to go through the mill with umpteen exams from Y7 to Y11.
    It'll probably mean more time actually teaching and less time revising for the bloody things.

  10. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    Well I for one don't mind the move back to just linear. Gives me less to think about when I have to choose on a GCSE board for when we start taking children up to 16. I can't see what's wrong with a calculator and non calculator paper on which any topic could come up at the end of the course. This is what I currently work towards with children for their 13+ CE exams.
  11. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Interesting thoughts. I think it will do the opposite and increase game playing. I think more students will be entered for more linear exams personally.
  12. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    This is the argument I don't understand, it's not like modular is being forced on departments. You can still do linear alongside modular (in fact the majority of candidates sit the linear exam). It's not a move back to linear, it has always been there.
    Anyone would think centres who do modular are cheating!!!!
  13. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    I have said before the issues I see in mathematics education at the moment.
    • The lack of Intermediate tier. Getting rid of it has caused less A*/A content in the higher paper.
    • The lack of good quality maths teachers who can inspire children to enjoy maths
    • The push towards more problem solving questions in GCSE papers that are designed to 'catch' students out. It's sometimes unfair as borderline C/D students on some papers can understand the problems and struggle with the language on others. There should be a comprehension paper and a problem solving paper.
    • Linked to this the fact that many students come out of maths exams saying "that was the hardest thing they have ever done". I never see tears after other exams. I know grade boundaries often reflect the difficulty of the paper - but it doesn't nothing for the image of maths as our subject.
    • Constantly chopping and changing specifications and tinkering with things. No time for things to embed.
    Justy a few of my thoughts!!!

  14. weggster

    weggster New commenter

    I think that moving everyone to linear is the right thing to do.
    Without all of the modules it's easier to focus on "just teaching maths" over two years. Also you don't waste time revising for all of those modules, releasing more time on subject content.
    We moved from modular to linear about 4 or 5 years ago and the students enjoy there maths more now, as do the teachers (and results have improved). We talked to another local school about it, they have done the same and are finding the same outcomes.
    I'd love to see the return of the intermediate tier (while keeping a C grade on the foundation tier).
    I'd also ban any early entry too (including the November of Year 11 early entry).
    While we are at it let's have one nationalised exam board!
    Next on my list is to get a cross party team to work with education leaders to have a 15 year education plan independent of the government (a bit like the Bank of England and interest rates).
    The plan is set up and followed no matter who is elected.
    Education is too important to be a political football.
  15. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Sorry, I have to take issue with this:
    This is just the same old teacher-bashing that governments' have enjoyed for years.
    There is no shortage of good quality maths teachers.

  16. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    (I'm having a nightmare posting to this topic so having to do it in chunks. Sorry.)
    Anyway, IMHO, the problem isn't a shortage of maths teachers, it's a curriculum that's irrelevant to around 50% of the kids.
    In a school with a nice catchement, around half of them can be persuaded to suck it up anyway, but there's no chance, no matter how "good quality" the teaching is of persuading any of that 50% in a rough catchment, particularly where their parents don't value education and "din't get mafs so dunt see wy u shld eifer".
    We need a more relevant compulsory curriculum. Proper maths (i.e. O level stuff) should be optional.
    (Wasn't this what Vorderman was saying?)
  17. It's an old chestnut Paul but the issue of maths teacher recruitment is something that varies massively between different areas/different schools. A colleague recently got a job in a nice school where some of the classes have had a succession of supply teachers over the past two years and the school has genuinely struggled to recruit staff. In my area, that isn't unusual.

    That said, I do feel for anyone reading this who is a maths teacher and struggling to get a job. I didn't interpret Pencho's comment as teacher bashing.
  18. I agree entirely with what you are saying here Paul, it's a very hard sell to a lot of pupils. My school isn't an 'inner city' school but it is a school in a city and it is a tough time trying to sell many of the things to any other than the upper sets. I do think at least some of it has to do with the reasons I quoted above, knowledge being seen as unimportant by the vast majority of other subjects and so maths really sticks out like a sore thumb.

    You are perfectly correct Paul, Vorderman recommended an everyday/optional split. I doubt it will happen though since there isn't any money to implement it, which is a shame. Also, it would be seen as a 'soft' option and not something the current government would want to put their name to.
  19. Sounds pretty similar to MEI's vision for KS4, with the contextual/pure bit being developed out of the Linked Pair Pilot.
  20. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    I hadn't seen that. Thanks for the link.
    I like their comments about the extension qualificaiton for upper band KS4. I like that a lot.
    Not convinced by the comments about the linked pair though. I've taught it, like it for higher groups (why shouldn't they get 2 GCSEs for all the work you have to put in for maths?), but in its current form the "applications of" paper is still irrelevant for lower groups.
    IMHO, we need, not to actually "aim lower" as such for the lower groups but deliver relevance for them.
    Numeracy (proper, old fashioned stuff - not actually because it's relevant as we know in "real life" they'll have calculators available, but because without it, it simply isn't possible to do approximation well and that is an essential skill and I think we can show them that.), measurement, telling the time, compound interest & foundation level statistics and probability at most.
    All geometry, trig & algebra and elements of "pure maths" in the "optional" part. (BTW, please don't imagine I don't understand the relevance of algebra nor that I don't know geometry & trig have a place in construction industries and trades, but, fact is, the kids can't do algebra when they don't have the basic numeracy and "3/4/5" to give a right angle really is best taught to apprentice scaffolders by their "master" and not in a classroom. And are the bottom sets really going to form a set of simultaneous equations to work out the best mobile phone tarrif?)


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