# OFQUAL Report - Modular was the harder route

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by jeff291, Mar 24, 2012.

1. ### jeff291

I think there are so many variables its often hard to pass judgement.
One major issue for me is the maturity of learners both in terms of outlook and knowledge when modular exams are thrust upon them in the first term of year 10 (and for many year 9). I think the same pupils sitting a module in November of year 10 is not going to always do as well as that pupils in a linear in the June of year 11.
Pros and cons but for me a 2 stage GCSE would be ideal. Pass year 10 and then onto year 11 exam in one form or another.
I don't rate Gove though.

2. ### bobboots

I find it hard to take this too seriously when they compare modular AQA and CCEA against linear OCR, WJEC and Edexcel, and with the percentages they used it's basicaly modular AQA vs. Edexcel linear.
Why?!?
Also, as they point out, correlation does not imply causation. maybe the linear is just as hard but better taught ;p

3. ### brambo

With modular you are doing "chunks", with linear you can spend more time refreshing an existing "understanding" then build until the time when it is best to stop...
We did OCR modular and top sets did module 7 in Y9 (before they missed it entirely), then module 8 & 9 in Y10 with module 10 in Y11 + the terminal. It worked well for hard-working girls as they revised in small amounts and "banked" a good percentage of their grade before the terminal test. What it didn't work well for was the less hard-working pupils whom needed a jolt with it being March and the exams are in June.
Also, under the modular system that OCE had, they could still test anything from module 6 to 10 in the terminal test, so the pupils still had to revise everything. Still, this system allowed a number of girls to gain either an A or A* when they didn't gain that in the terminal test due to having scored highly on modules.
When OCR changed to its current modular system, we're running both linear and modular. We're finding it harder to gain good marks on the modules because each it mixed in terms of difficulty and doesn't always allow for mathematical progression at a rate that the pupils can undertake (especially those that don't work hard). And though I'm sure there was reason in their choices of what should be in each module, it appears arbitrary at times.
Doing linear, I was able to take quadratic equations as far as the pupils could understand at this time. With a group expecting B grades, some managed to simplify algebraic fractions that needed factorisation whilst others could practise factorisation for instance. Under a modular system I'd almost certainly have waited to show some algebraic fractions until the "right" module.

4. ### JaquesJaquesLiverotEstablished commenter

That doesn't suggest that modular is harder - it could equally suggest that students learn better on a linear course. I think a more interesting study would be to measure the standard of candidates five years later and see which type of courses develops lasting skills.
My main subject is ICT, and it's obvious to me that portfolio-based courses, such as DiDA and OCR Nationals, don't develop skills because there's no requirement to master anything - students do something once, print it out, and forget it.
Modular examination isn't quite like that, but my gut feeling is that success in a linear exam would require a greater degree of mastery of topics across the whole curriculum.