# 'Modular or Linear'?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by littlelouis, Apr 19, 2012.

1. ### littlelouis

Our recent departmental meeting was dedicated to planning for the 'new terminal exam' KS4. We're currently doing modular and clearly have to rethink how we're going to change things. After a while we talked about our choice for the final exam - as we understand it pupils can either sit three 'modular' exams at the end of the course or two 'linear' exams. While we don't think this choice will in any way dictate how we deliver the course throughout yrs 10 and 11, it struck us that the 'modular' option was preferable in many ways - slightly shorter exams (we're not convinced some of our pupils can concentrate for that long), specific topics for the 'non calculator paper', fewer topics to revise for each exam. The only downside seemed to be that they had to sit three exams instead of two. I was wondering what other people were thinking...?

2. ### littlelouis

Our recent departmental meeting was dedicated to planning for the 'new terminal exam' KS4. We're currently doing modular and clearly have to rethink how we're going to change things. After a while we talked about our choice for the final exam - as we understand it pupils can either sit three 'modular' exams at the end of the course or two 'linear' exams. While we don't think this choice will in any way dictate how we deliver the course throughout yrs 10 and 11, it struck us that the 'modular' option was preferable in many ways - slightly shorter exams (we're not convinced some of our pupils can concentrate for that long), specific topics for the 'non calculator paper', fewer topics to revise for each exam. The only downside seemed to be that they had to sit three exams instead of two. I was wondering what other people were thinking...?

Another option in the 'modular' way is you can enter them for different tiers for different modules, eg Higher for 1 and 2 and Foundation for 3, if you think that will help them get a C.

We're just dropping Modular completely though.

4. ### gchandNew commenter

In my place we do modular early entry aiming to complete in Year 10 or November Year 11. Those that get their target grade can go on to do Additional or GCSE Statistics. If they don't then it's a crash course for the linear paper. Obviously the groups that are not going to affect the statistics go at a gentler pace.

5. ### MathsHOD

The other factor to consider is 'linear' is 50/50 in terms of non-calculator and calculator whereas doing the modular exams at the end gives you a 40/60 split.

6. ### hardlife

Not so with AQA as I understand it. Their Linear option has a 40/60 split whereas their Unitised course is approx 30/70.

7. ### mathsteacher1953

Although I doubt whether having a calculator for the calculator paper is of any help on questions such as, drawing an accurate triangle or identifying poor questionnaire design! Calculator papers include a number of non-calculator questions.

8. ### yorkshiretyke

I wonder if anyone can answer a question ? Our head seems to think that the children can only sit their exam at the end of year 11, or they can sit it at the end of year 10 but they can not resit in year 11.
Now my understanding is that we can still do early entry on the linear, i.e year 10 can sit the linear and if they dont get a C/their target/or want to do higher, they can try again in November and if needs be, sit again in June of year 11.....please can anyone advise if I am correct.

Thanks

9. ### MathsHOD

I believe that this is correct.

The changes have been made to ensure that assessment is taken all at one time and remove the potential for 'learn'; 'test'; 'forget' of the modular system with potential for piecemeal resits of certain parts of the course..

The regs say that all assessment must now be taken at the end of the course (ie. piece-meal modular assessment can't take place).

Your suggested approach defines the end of the course as year 10 and thus all assessments take place at this time. Students then resit the course and take exams in November etc.

I have heard suggestions that Gove might try and find a way to block this in league tables or whatever but, as far as I am aware, there is nothing in the regulations that prevents it happening currently.

Having said all of that it's not an approach I would favour for anything other than a student in a very specific situation (so specific that I can't think of one!)

10. ### PiranhaStar commenter

A related question is hpow the modular is marked. Currenly, UMS marks are calculated on each paper and then added. If a student performs very differently on the 3 papers, then they are likely to get a different mark to if the raw scores were taken and then converted to UMS. My guess is that a student whose percentage raw scores differ a lot will do worse than one who gets the same total mark and about equal percentage scores in each paper. Will the system be the same in the future, or will they total the 3 papers?