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Wanted - idiot's guide to KS4 Maths qualifications

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Betamale, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. What is your cohort like?
    ALAN will not be around
    Lined Pair (IIRC) is by application only, correct me if I am wrong)
    If you have am massively against any Edexcel GCSEs for a number of reasons but their linear papers is easier thn others in the main.
    I dont believe in the modular system and find the edexcel one awful.
    I feel though good kids should be allowed to do good GCSEs that have depth. The IGCSE or Ibacc SL would be nice for good kids if you can.
    Anecdotally my C/D ids cannot access the OCR exam yet I thin OCR and MEI GCSE for good ids is fantasctic.
    Functional sills IMO is an option for ids on vocational qualifications, again edexcel materials look straight forward.
    Personally my answer is focused on your cohort.
  2. I wasn't very clear. What I need to get a handle on is what qualifications I have to prepare both the kids and teachers for. At the moment all students do GCSE and the least able to GCSE and ELC. Is there anything to say that all kids will have to sit Functional Skills in the future (and if so, is that at Level 1 or Level 2)? Is modular being phased out as was mentioned a few months ago? Is a paired GCSE definitely coming in?
  3. arsinh

    arsinh New commenter

    You just need to teach GCSE unless you want to teach something else as well.
    Functional skills is already here but it is usually only taken by those who do Apprenticeships or The Diploma. As The Diploma is all but dead, FS may not last long.
    The Linked Pair is here and first examinations take place in June. Even though it is supposedly still supported by the coalition, it was completely sidelined in discussions for the new NC 2012.
    Gove has said he would like to move to linear examination but that is only an aspirational goal at present.

  4. Hello Brookes,
    I've tried to keep this as generic as possible, but apologies in advance if I refer to something that is AQA-specific.
    All students are still required to follow the KS4 Programme of Study in its present form. It is the case that GCSE remains the 'standard' mathematics qualification and there is no requirement to do a functional skills qualification separately. That said, I believe the main thing is to provide learners of all abilities with the best understanding of mathematics possible, and then find the right assessment to support this, rather than letting assessment dictate teaching. There are a number of worthwhile mathematics qualifications that may be suitable for different groups of students. These include
    Entry Level Certificate (ELC) in Mathematics - a qualification aimed at students who would not achieve Grade G at GCSE. There are eight units, offering a blend of internally and externally set assignments. All of the work is marked by the teacher, and graded at one of three levels; E1,E2 or E3. This qualification can act as a stepping stone towards GCSE Foundation tier and double entry for ELC and GCSE is quite common.
    GCSEs - most Awarding Bodies offer two routes, one linear and one unitised. I won't spend too long on these as I suspect everyone will be familiar with these courses, but the new focus for GCSEs is on Problem Solving and Process Skills, as well as testing the functional elements. Because of this, we think that functional skills at level 1 or 2 is useful in helping students really focus on the process skills and on problems in context.
    Linked Pair Pilot - offers students the chance to gain two GCSEs in Mathematics. This is a pilot qualification, and some of the awarding bodies have contracts to run this until 2013. Schools have to apply to join, and places are limited, but the differences between this and the 'standard' GCSEs are:
    • two distinct GCSEs; one in Methods in Mathematics and the other in Applications of Mathematics
    • About 20% additional content that is not in the GCSE course
    • Students must study for both qualifications, in order to comply with the KS4 PoS
    • <u>either</u> can count towards league tables (so a Grade C in Methods and D in Applications, would mean the student fulfils the A*-C target for maths)
    iGCSEs - a number of qualifications appear under the "iGCSE" banner, and all have alternative names and target different groups. Ours is the "AQA Certificate in Further Mathematics (Level 2)", and is designed to stretch the brightest KS4 learners, those who are likely to achieve A or A* at GCSE and may want to continue to future study. It is currently with Ofqual for accreditation, but we hope to be able to offer this for first teaching in September, with the first examination in June 2012.
    There are, of course, other qualifications available, such as Functional Maths at different levels, and GCSE Statistics. I do not wish this post to become overly long, but if you would like to discuss these or any of the qualifications listed above, please contact me or a member of the team, on 0161-957-3852 or mathematicsgcse@aqa.org.uk or visit the subject page.
    With best wishes,
    Andrew Taylor
    Head of AQA GCSE Mathematics
  5. Thank you Andrew. That's very clear and helpful (and you're right, I am familiar with the GCSE Maths and Statistics course etc). Although I've found the Functional Skills papers interesting reading, I can't justify spending the time on staff-training and cost of exam entries at the moment if there's no necessity or significant benefit to the school and students. I will continue to offer ELC for the least able and have a think about an alternative offer for the most (although I can't see a clear way through delivering this to a small group of students split across two populations). The Linked Pair sounds interesting, when will it be rolled out for non-volunteers?

    Everyone's posts have helped me clarify in my mind why I was asking the question in the first place and where my doubts lay - Thank You.

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