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New specs GCSE - not sure my Y10 are ready!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by lancsHOD, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    We do Edexcel modular and our Y10 are sitting the second unit tomorrow and I am really quite worried. The first module wasn't too different from previous years but my Higher students seem to be really struggling with the unit 2 practice papers.
    How do other people feel?
    I seriously need to get my pupils to do 2 things;
    1. Think for themselves and confident apply there knowledge.
    2. Work confidently without a calculator.
    Any good suggestions?
    We are trying to build more open ended tasks in KS3, not sure we have enough KS4 resources for pupils to apply their knowledge - what do you use?
     
  2. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    We do Edexcel modular and our Y10 are sitting the second unit tomorrow and I am really quite worried. The first module wasn't too different from previous years but my Higher students seem to be really struggling with the unit 2 practice papers.
    How do other people feel?
    I seriously need to get my pupils to do 2 things;
    1. Think for themselves and confident apply there knowledge.
    2. Work confidently without a calculator.
    Any good suggestions?
    We are trying to build more open ended tasks in KS3, not sure we have enough KS4 resources for pupils to apply their knowledge - what do you use?
     
  3. The practice papers I saw had some hard sums to do without a calculator. The papers did seem very hard for some of my students - all doing them in Year 10l
     
  4. I liked the unit one paper and it seemed more taxing than similar edexcel ones.
    Im not sure how to prep your kids as often the spec papers are different to what gets served up.
    I think the idea of turning it into a linear may be of use in the future. Whatever the outcome you (I and others too) will learn from it.
    I think getting mine to articulate themselves in the * questions has been the hardest part.
     
  5. We've had the same problems with the new AQA soec. What is throwing the kids is the increase in unstructured questions. Frankly, many don't have the wherewithal to cope with thinking outside the box. The way we spend every year in secondary prepping them for GCSE with its structured, often barely distinguishable questions from year to year in order for the school to hit unreasonable targets in terms of attainment has meant that kids have not been taught how to think for themselves.
    Does this mean that we need to revisit KS3 in order to take these changes into account? What it will probably mean is that, for a couple of years, the grade boundaries will be lowered until we get used to teahcing these skills to kids, or that these "tricky" questions will fade away and be replaced by long, but more structured questions.
    After all, it wouldn't do for the new govt to oversee a drop in pass rates, would it?

    cyolba, thinking inside the box :)
     
  6. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    There's alot of good old fashioned arithmetic in some of those questions. No substitute for lots of practice at this, and including things like fractions of quantities, percentages of quantities, ratios etc. Kids tend to freeze - rabbit/headlights scenario - when they see problems with loads of separate calculations, especially ones involving decimals and anything with division...!
    Further compounded by the fact that most resources pay lip service to this sort of thing. My answer would be for them to spend lots of time practising.
    I'm busy hunting around for decent worded problems involving non-calculator arithmetic. Probably end up putting together worksheets of my own.
    As it happens, ours are doing unit 2 in November, so time is on my side, although I'm dreading fitting in all of unit 3 in the remaining time....
     
  7. Try doinf unit 2 work with bottom set year 9s...! As we started KS4 in year 9, that's where we now are. Of course, the rationale behind such an SLT move has been discussed elsewhere.

    cyolba, awaiting the first set of grade boundaries for a decent sized unit 2 cohort :)
     
  8. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    Having seen the papers I am less worried, I don't think they were as hard as the practice papers my pupils didn't necessarily agree with me!
    I agree that they need lots of mental arithmetic practice. As for doing the exam in November, I have really struggled to get through the content for today with my B/C group and didn't do things as thoroughly as I would have liked. We used to do Mod 2 in November but found mod 3 was too rushed. I am trying to work out the best way to go next..... we start teaching GCSE at Easter of Y9 but didn't examine until March of year 10.
    Anyone bought into any good resources?
     

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