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Maths GCSE confusion

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by PaulDG, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    The GCSE specifications haven't changed significantly for years though there have been a few detail changes in the last 3.

    One is the introduction of so-called "functional questions" - these tend to be pretty easy "maths" but are demanding in the detail required in the answer. As a trivial example, a "functional" question might ask what area of grass seed would need to be sown to cover a circular lawn. Dimensions would be given and the candidate would work out the area - but at least some of the marks in the question would be given for explicitly stating "area of a circle is pi r squared", and a answer would not get full marks without a statement like that.

    Another is the opportunity within courses like Edexcel B to "mix and match" the 3 modular papers so that a candidate can be entered for Higher in one section of the course and Foundation in another. This may well be what's happened in your daughter's case - perhaps she was in the Foundation stream but her mock results have been good enough for her teachers to think she has a chance of getting a A/B in one of the Higher papers which could get her an overall grade B instead of the maximum C she'd get if she did all Foundation.

    One other possibility is that there was no plan (is she in year 9? 10?) for her to actually take the particular module she's now entered for but with Gove's new "everything Linear" diktat, they've decided to enter her for modules now in the hope she'll get her C this year as they think she may struggle with Linear next year.

    (If she's in the Higher stream, then nothing has really changed. There's getting the hang of the technique for the "functional" questions, but Higher stream kids usually don't have problems with those once they've practised them a few times and some people have suggested that papers have been "harder" recently, but others disagree.)
  2. howie1000

    howie1000 New commenter

    Thanks for that.

    She's in Y9 so I think the school may be avoiding the linear scenario thing.

    Have I got this right - Spec A was linear anyway? So she was doing Spec B and is side-stepping that being made newly linear?
  3. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    As she's in year 9, there is another possibility. It may be that her school hadn't decided if it was going to do internal exams at the end of year 9 and then move onto GCSE and that it has now finalised a decision to actually take one of the modules this year.
  4. howie1000

    howie1000 New commenter

    Very much obliged for your help in this,


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