# Not all A*s are created equally

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by jeff291, Apr 2, 2012.

1. ### jeff291

If a student sits one A2 applied unit as a part of their normal A level in mathematics they have to score 270 combined on the A2 units to get an A star. If they had done 2 AS units for their applied modules they would only have to get 180 UMS on C3/4 to get an A star.
If, for some reason, they opt for 2 A2 units then it goes to 360 UMS from the 4 A2 units.
Fair on the candidate?
ps
Im not looking for an argument on whether schools should teach different combos.

2. ### jeff291

If a student sits one A2 applied unit as a part of their normal A level in mathematics they have to score 270 combined on the A2 units to get an A star. If they had done 2 AS units for their applied modules they would only have to get 180 UMS on C3/4 to get an A star.
If, for some reason, they opt for 2 A2 units then it goes to 360 UMS from the 4 A2 units.
Fair on the candidate?
ps
Im not looking for an argument on whether schools should teach different combos.

3. ### kevchenko13

This is not true.
To achieve an A*, a student must achieve an A overall (at least 480/600) and a total of 180/200 on C3 and C4.
Note that:
• Applied modules are disregarded wrt calculation of A* for A Level Maths, except inasmuch as they contribute to the 480 required overall
• It is not possible to certificate A Level Maths with four units at A2 level, since the only combinations accepted are M1M2, S1S2, D1D2, D1S1, D1M1, S1M1

4. ### DMNew commenter

Amazed that people STILL do not understand how A* is awarded!

5. ### kevchenko13

This is probably an apt time and place to post this reminder from OCR - applies to all specifications.?

Re-certification of previously entered GCE Mathematics qualifications
<font size="3" face="Arial,Arial">We&rsquo;d like to remind you that, whenever an entry is made for any qualification in GCE Mathematics or Further Mathematics, all previously certificated qualifications should be re-entered for.
For a candidate entering for Mathematics and Further Mathematics, re-certificating &lsquo;unlocks&rsquo; all units and makes all units available to optimise the grade for each qualification.
For example, a candidate certificates for AS Mathematics and AS Further Mathematics in Year 12, with Statistics 1 counting towards AS Further Mathematics. The candidate certificates for A2 Mathematics (and possibly A2 Further Mathematics) in Year 13. Statistics 1 is &lsquo;locked&rsquo; into Further Maths, so cannot be used towards Maths &ndash; some of the otherwise valid combinations are not available and the candidate may not be awarded the best possible grades. Re-certificating the two AS qualifications in Year 13 &lsquo;unlocks&rsquo; all units and makes them all available to optimise the grade for each qualification.
Certification entries are free of charge, and can be made at any time.
</font>

6. ### jeff291

This has happened recently on a slightly different A level qualification.
GCE Pure Mathematics (not further) A level with Edexcel.
190 UMS coming from C3/4 and 75 on FP3 which = A, not A star despite 560 UMS and over 180 from C3/4
Here is Edexcels info:
<font size="3" face="Verdana" color="#00005a">A pass in an Advanced GCE subject is indicated by one
of the six grades A*, A, B, C, D, E of which Grade A* is the highest
and Grade E the lowest. To be awarded an A* students will need to
achieve an A on the full GCE Advanced level qualification and an A*
aggregate of the A2 units.
</font>http://www.edexcel.com/migrationdocuments/GCE%20New%20GCE/UA024850%20GCE%20in%20Mathematics%20issue%202%20180510.pdf

7. ### DMNew commenter

May I refer you to your original post where you mentioned a 'normal' A Level?

8. ### kevchenko13

Jeff, you may wish to read this - it's the guidance for centres on how Maths, Pure and Further are graded.
As DM noted, A Level Maths qualifications generally work differently from other A Levels because of choice of units. In fact, candidates taking Further Maths (Additional) are likely to have their award made up of six A2 units. This document even covers that award:
That phrase 'A* on the aggregate of the A2 units' in the guidance you have quoted is a little misleading when applied to Mathematics GCEs, as you can see from the above.
Hope this clears it up.

9. ### PiranhaStar commenter

I doubt if anybody would want to do this, but I don't think it is allowed. Our spec (MEI) says "Advanced GCE Mathematics consists of either three AS units and three A2 units or four AS units and two A2 units."
These things are complicated, and schools need to ensure that all A-level teachers know the rules on module choices, certification and A* grades so that students can be guided and reassured.