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Maths Education - Current Issues - Any additional Info

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by pencho, May 6, 2012.

  1. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Since January Gove has come out making statements about maths education, but we seemed to have heard little about them since. Does anyone have any info
    1) <u>Maths papers becoming harder from November 2012</u> - has anyone told us what this means for us yet. I know the papers were written a couple years ago, but will it have impact on grade boundaries
    2) <u>Early Entry - Supposedley Gove meeting with Wilshaw to discuss.</u> They have met since he announnced it (we know from Gove's NAHT sppech yesterday). However we have heard nothing about impace.
    3) <u>Double GCSE in maths.</u> Any idea whether pilot will continue beyond next year and/or plans for new double GCSE will be put into place. For example are pilot papers still being produced from June 2013.
    It seems we only ever get half a story. Gove makes an annoucment and then we hear nothing about it for months. All these things clearly have implications on teaching for next year.

     
  2. Many of the reforms have already basic timescales allocated.
    The issue is that civil servants is whatever disguise you want (OFQUAL, DofE, OFSTED, etc) then start the process and like almost everything that civil servants get involved in, timescales slip.
    Personally, I have no problems with any of the changes we're expecting. Changes to the GCSE curriculum, looking at early entry, double award GCSE, alterations to A level, maths for all until 18; so long as it is done well then given time to be embedded into the educational system.
     
  3. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Is this true? I'm not aware of any
    With regards to maths papers becoming harder from Nov 2012. We know this - but what does it mean for teachers/teaching
    With regards to early entry, Gove has said he is going to talk to Wilshaw. That's all we have heard.
    Double GCSE in maths, I thought we were going to be told by now for planning purposes Schools need to know now as final examination is next year (in other words you could not start it with Y10).
    In my opinion they are leaving some announcments very late for teaching for next year.
    Brambo - if you are aware of other information, then please share.


     
  4. Take for instance the changes to A Levels. Read the letters between Gove and Stacey - both have allocated a timescale for the changes of first teaching in 2014.
    Early entry - Gove and Wilshaw placed an initial determination that early entry should be unfavourably viewed and that January and March examinations were being stopped effectively from now. A final determination of allowances for early entry is still unknown (mainly because Academies are the main culprits).
    Again, the new curriculum (if you read the DfE correspondence) is now 2014 for Mathematics and was originally intended to be introduced in 2013. The same also wants consideration of a double award for Maths GCSE to be addressed for 2014 teaching - as originally stated in the consultation.
    Yes, timescales slip, but if you keep reviewing the websites you can easly see what timescales Gove is trying to hit.
    Remember, he needs to hit 2014 to get it all in before the election.
    With regard to examinatins getting harder from Nov, what do you mean? Gove has stated that grade inflation must not happen. Ofqual then re-iterated this stance. All that means is we will likely see higher grade thresholds. They cannot get "harder" without a change to the specification. You cannot add extra A/A* questions into the exams if the specification doesn't allow it.
     
  5. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Brambo, thanks for the information, but none of the things you are talking about I am unaware of. I'm talking about other things that have been announced since.
    I did not mention a-levels or changes to modular GCSE's.
    With regards to my question about Early Entry. The removal of GCSE's in January in March are due to the linearisation of GCSE's and Gove has never said it is because he wants to abandon Early Entry. Indeed under current proposals you can still do early entry in Y10, Nov Y11, Jan Y11 (iGCSE) and June Y11.
    What my question was referring to was in March he wrote a letter to Wilshaw requesting what Ofsted might be able to do in order to disincentivise early entry. Link to the article and letter is here
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9131170/Early-GCSE-entry-damages-childrens-education-says-Gove.html
    Wilshaw had nothing to do with abandoning entries in January and March as you seem to suggest. It was decided before he became HMCI. Also Wilshaw's Mossbourne Academy makes use of early entry in mathematics, so it will be interesting to see what he says. Gove has met Wilshaw since, but we have not heard of any further info on Early Entry proposals.
    My question was nothing to do with changes to the new national curriculum. I am fully uptodate with this area. My question regarding curriculum was that we were expecting an announcement on whether the linked pair pilot would continue beyond June 2013. This has not happened yet and it is getting close to September 2012 and I think it would be useful for schools to know if it will be supported beyond this date,.
    This article in february explains what I mean. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9101972/Examiners-ordered-to-toughen-up-GCSE-test-papers.html
    Gove has asked Ofqual to ensure that November 2012 are to be made more difficult in mathematics. At the moment noone seems to know what this means. The latest info I had from the awarding bodies suggests they have no idea yet what OFQUAL actually want them to do. I was simply enquiring whether this position has changed and whether anyone was aware of other information.
    Brambo I appreciate the response and your help, but the comments you make I am aware of and as you can see from the articles, things have moved on.
    It seems at the moment we have lots of soundbytes from Gove, but not action or timescale for anything of the things I originally asked about.

     
  6. DM

    DM New commenter

    A senior DfE official told me on 23rd February that the Linked-Pair Pilot will not be extended. However, this message was not shared with any of the Awarding Bodies.
    Three weeks ago Edexcel said "Thank you for your enquiry regarding the future of the GCSE Maths Linked Pair Pilot. Unfortunately we aren&rsquo;t in a position to confirm what is happening beyond summer 2013 as we await decisions being made by The Department for Education and Ofqual. As soon as we know these outcomes we will communicate them to you."
    Another interim report was published on 26th April and can be found here:
    https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DFE-RR207
    We are still waiting to see what happens but, if we don't hear very soon, we will be forced to withdraw from the Pilot and switch to a single Linear GCSE.
     
  7. The matter of early entry follows on from Ofquals consultation about GCSE changes in 2011 for examinations taking place starting from 2012.
    http://www.education.gov.uk/a00191691/changes-to-gcses-from-2012
    The DfE stated, " There has been a significant increase in the number of pupils being entered early for GCSE exams in recent years. Statistics show that this may not help pupils achieve their full potential. Teachers need to be sure that early completion of GCSEs is right for individual pupils. "
    The telegraph article you placed a link to is just re-reporting those findings.
    And is a press report about this from the DfE website:
    http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00204891/ofsted-asked-to-discourage-gcse-early-entry-a-damaging-trend-harming-interests-of-many-pupils
    As you can see, it was updated 26th April.
    Many reacted angrily to the suggestions, e.g.
    http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/cgi-bin/go.pl/article/article.html?uid=90448;type_uid=1;section=News
    There has been no response by Wilshaw recorded.
     
  8. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Thanks DM for the information. I just wish they would make some announcements sooner as it is affecting what people are doing from September and schools need to start planning soon.
    Hi Brambo. The telegraph article reported a new letter that Gove to Wilshaw. Before then Wilshaw has not been asked to comment and before then the DFE have just commented there has been a significant increase. So it is NOT simply rereporting these findings. It is developing the situation.
    I am aware of the responses you suggest - but I looking for new information and wondered if anyone had heard anything.

     
  9. The timeline for GCSE changes is here:
    http://www.ofqual.gov.uk/help-and-support/94-articles/839-timeline-for-the-introduction-of-changes-to-gcses
    Although they were asked to tighten up Maths papers, the basis was that questions had become formulaic.
    OCR for instance stated:
    "OCR strongly believes that courses and their examinations should be designed to encourage students to cover the whole of the syllabus. We have long argued for approaches that support breadth in learning and our close work with Higher Education has further convinced us of its importance. We are pleased that all the exam boards are working with Ofqual to ensure this happens in all cases. Although this work may result in some changes, we expect that, by and large, good teachers are unlikely to see much change in their practice."
    http://www.ocr.org.uk/news/2012/item_012.aspx
    I think you can assume that the examinations will take full account of the functional elements within the specifications. Like I said, they cannot change the examinations wholesale because of the specifications.
     
  10. Thanks.
    From all I've read, inc. the Government's white paper and Ofqual's research, they've both been aiming for double award GCSE starting from 2014. Is your source now stating that is unlikely?
     
  11. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Brambo
    Thanks for trying to help. I think we have some crossed wires, but I appreciate your help. I'm interested in essentially what it means for examinations from Nov 2012. I try and keep uptodate with everything I can. I had seen the OCR reponse. However what is not clear (and OCR don't even know as I have phoned them up) is
    - What is means in terms of test papers from Nov 2012? Surely they cannot be rewritten as they have already been produced.
    - How much different are they going to be from current papers. If there is going to be no difference then what is Gove and Ofqual wanting them to do.
    - Will the affect be on grade boundaries, in other words fewer students passing!!!

     
  12. We've tried to ask OCR too.
    Their response was that "exams would be little different" and that "they feel they were meeting most of the expectations already as they have been asked to meet".
    All I can assume is that the new modular papers have more "functional" questions and that future examination papers will see more of the same.
    Other than that, we have some very good contributors on here that post as quickly as they know things.
     
  13. cookel

    cookel New commenter

    As well as the Nov 2012 issue - do Stacey's comments mean the move to two year Linear A Levels is definite or just for some subjects or will there really be consultation as indicated by ofqual website?
     
  14. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Brambo. Not sure they can just put more function/problem solving questions in AO3 as the specifications make it clear what percentage of the exam has to be made up of the different assessment objectives. Schools would have the right to complain if they did and we also surely should be informed of changes in assessment objectives. With regards to OCR. I spoke to them and they said they have made no changes to Nov 2012 papers. They said to me they had already been printed and ready to go.
     
  15. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    When I spoke to all the awarding bodies recently none of them still had any ideas what they actual were meant to do. All Ofqual has asked awarding bodies to do is make maths papers harder from Nov 2012. No one has told them (as far as I know) what this means. If they did I am sure the awarding bodies and ofqual would tell us in order to keep schools informed.
    I am surprised by their comments to you then.
     
  16. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    It is my opinion that what Gove says he wants, happens. See the sudden change in tack of Glenys Stacey over opinion of A-levels. In my opinion they all fear for their jobs if they don't agree. So although there will be a consultation it is my opinion that Gove will press ahead with his wanted changes. To me there is probably a consultation because they have to by law.
     
  17. cookel

    cookel New commenter

    What a pity that the baby will be thrown out with the water then - including a halt to the increase in further maths numbers at AS and A2
     
  18. DM

    DM New commenter

    The trouble is, as far as the Government are concerned, the Linked-Pair is tainted by association with the Labour Party and consequently needs to be dumped. They don't like the Methods/Applications split and vaguely talk of replacing it with a Numeracy/Mathematics split. Similarly the language of Functional Mathematics must also be ditched and replaced by the 'Numeracy Hurdle'.
     
  19. Thanks for that.
     
  20. You can make changes to ensure that the full 25% for AO3 is used. It also depends upon how you classify some questions as to whether they test AO2 or AO3.
    As far as Higher goes, the spec states approx 50% will be questions on the HI and HB stages and 50% on the HS and HG stages.
    Functional elements are at 20-30% of Higher assessment.
    If these questions are deemed "hardest" you just ensure that the examinations in future ensure the maximum amount within the specification.
     

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