My class sat the EdExcel unit 1 exam (higher tier) on Friday. This is the one that is basically data handling with a few things thrown in to make it up to 30% of the full GCSE. Throughout the course I've made a big play that all of the data skills on their own are basically useless unless you can interpret the outcomes in context. We've done loads of comparing 2 lots of data - whether that be stem and leaf plots; box and whisker; cumulative frequency curves; pie charts; histograms (or combinations of any 2 of these) right back to having 2 sets of raw data and making decisions about which graphs/calculations are most appropriate to allow us to compare. Of course I've done this not because it is likely to be in the exam but because it's what data handling is all about and they'll need to know it in a range of other subjects and beyond school in many cases. I am however surprised that this skill wasn't tested in the exam at all. I know that exams need to vary and not be predictable but there is almost boundless ways that they can test this skill that it couldn't be described as predictable. It's not a complaint about the paper - which, although I've not worked through it fully yet, looks fine - just a more general comment. The question that stands out as being out of place is the one where you are given a completed histogram other than the fact that the y axis (relative frequency) scale is missing. You are told that there were x people in the 10-20 category and told to find an expression in terms of x for the total number of people. Just struck me as unnecessary and the examiner showing off rather than trying to get information about what students did and didn't know.