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Old past papers and textbooks

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by intuitionist1, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I have added some more O&C past papers to my webpage at www.knowledge-dojo.com. The following papers are now available:
    O&C School Certificate Mathematical Papers 1933-37
    O&C Higher Certificate Science Papers 1938-42
    O&C Higher Certificate Mathematical Papers 1928-32
    O&C Advanced Level Mathematics Papers 1951, 1952, 1961, 1971, 1981
    Also available are a number of excellent textbooks, mainly by Clement Durell and his co-authors, which were very popular from around the 1920s-30s onwards.
    I will continue adding to this repository as and when I can (contributions are welcome!), and I hope that you find it useful.
    Best wishes,
    Sabbir.
     
  2. Hi,
    I have added some more O&C past papers to my webpage at www.knowledge-dojo.com. The following papers are now available:
    O&C School Certificate Mathematical Papers 1933-37
    O&C Higher Certificate Science Papers 1938-42
    O&C Higher Certificate Mathematical Papers 1928-32
    O&C Advanced Level Mathematics Papers 1951, 1952, 1961, 1971, 1981
    Also available are a number of excellent textbooks, mainly by Clement Durell and his co-authors, which were very popular from around the 1920s-30s onwards.
    I will continue adding to this repository as and when I can (contributions are welcome!), and I hope that you find it useful.
    Best wishes,
    Sabbir.
     
  3. Thanks! Some great stuff here. Where do you find the material?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    Thanks for this. There's some really interesting stuff here, and it's always good to have a look at how stuff was done before an inkling of a calculator, let alone a spreadsheet.
    Personally, I'm glad we have moved along.
     
  5. Give your pupils the 1933 paper, calculators allowed, and see how they do.
    That'll tell you how far we've progressed.



     
  6. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Why don't you give it to your pupils?
     
  7. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    There's nothing in that paper that a top set class couldn't do (and they ought to be able to do quite a bit more since there's no statistical element).

    What would throw them, of course, is the style of the questions which require a far higher level or literacy than GCSEs.

    But with some practice with questions of the same type, I'd expect a top set to mop those papers up quite easily.

    The other 10 or so sets would be doomed, of course, but then they would never have been expected to take a test like that.

    (I'm not at all sure if this means we've gone forward or backward. What I think it does is to confirm that we're not doing enough to stretch the top sets and allow them to show how good they can be. But since I thought that before I even came into teaching, it's a bit of an ingrained prejudice with me so it may be observer bias.)
     
  8. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    I understand how my 'moved forward' or what ever it was I wrote may have been misconstrued and was probably badly phrased.
    I think the fact that students no longer have to refer to 4-figure log tables (or slide rules) every time a non-trivial calculation is needed is a <strike>move forward</strike> good thing.

    I do wonder what proportion of the school-age population would have been sitting the 1933 paper mentioned. Wasn't the school leaving age 14 at the time? I'm not sure anyone could make any worthwhile comparisons between then and now in terms of overall standards.
     
  9. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    Sorry PaulDG, I seem to have quoted you.
     
  10. Though it's tempting, it wouldn't really be appropriate for the activities I do. Then nothing's current. We were asked by the European Union, who run the project I'm currently working on, to do activities with schools, but the problem is that we're all based in countries other than our native ones, we're not fluent in the local languages, and standards of school English aren't high enough to do work in English.





     
  11. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    I think I found a copy of one of Durell & Robson books, I think it was a calculus volume, in our staff room. It had moved institutions about 4 times.
     
  12. Hi,
    The material is mostly from my own personal collection, which I am scanning in little by little (though there have also been a few trips to the British library to scan in some of the more recent exam papers). I thought that rather than simply hoping that someone else would do this, that it would be worthwhile taking up the gauntlet myself and putting in a little time and effort to do it so that hopefully everyone can benefit. I hope that it will be a useful resource for those who would like to study how the syllabus and the examinations themselves have changed over time.
    It would not be surprised me if some people were to immediately go on the defensive when they realise quite how much more difficult past papers apparently were compared to the present day's. On the other hand, I have no doubt that the best students today, if prepared appropriately, could indeed tackle these types of questions. The topics being studied - arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, etc - have, after all, really not changed that much from then until now.
    The exam questions are, on the whole, more challenging than those that we are accustomed to today, and tackling them effectively often requires both a depth of understanding and a level of problem solving ability which are somewhat beyond that which is generally expected of today's students, and I think that this is a great shame.
    Although some of the textbooks are over eighty years old, besides the use of imperial units - particularly in the arithmetic and some of the algebra texts - I do not in general find them to be dated, and would rate them as superior to today's textbooks both in terms of depth and rigour. They also have an aesthetic quality about them which I feel is unmatched today. I think that these observations are nowhere more apparent than when one looks at the meticulous care with which geometry was taught.
    Please note that some of the past exam papers are actually quite difficult to source, so third party contributions would be most welcome!
    Best wishes,
    Sabbir.
     
  13. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Thing is, the exams were intended for different candidates.
    The 1933 exam would have been taken by a smaller fraction of the population than now takes A2. (Perhaps even less than takes Further Maths a A level?)
    GCSEs are intended for "everybody".
    Well yes, text books then were written to be read by children who could, well, read.
    Textbooks today are written to be more "accessible".
    Which wouldn't be so bad if the lower sets actually did try to access them. Not something I see every day though...
     

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