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Why do so few schools offer IB Further Maths?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by David Getling, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    I recently attended an interview, where I was told that the school had hired someone to teach one person Mongolian. Yet, I was told that there wasn't the demand to justify offering Further Maths.

    This is usually the excuse given, but I'm sure most schools would have a few takers each year. I strongly suspect that it's more a case of teachers who can't or don't want to teach all the topics this would entail.

    IB Further Maths has a wonderful set of topics that give students some taste of what they can expect if they take a maths degree, so it seems very reprehensible that most students are never given the opportunity to study this.
  2. Piranha

    Piranha Lead commenter

    It would be interesting to know what demand there really is. I suspect that a lot of budding mathematicians prefer to do A level Maths and Further Maths if they don't fancy doing a language, Humanity etc. My guess would be that there are enough teachers willing and able to teach it; I would love to, especially as it is moving to be an HL course next year. Who knows - perhaps enough students will ask for it to make it worthwhile. But I doubt it!
  3. Offering Mongolian is different to offering Further Maths. All students have to do two languages, Further Maths would be an option.
    Further Maths is tough (I've taught it, the student got a 7). It is far too big a risk to have it as one of your six subjects, you want to get good grades on your SLs. I have only ever seen it as a seventh subject. When you consider only 8% of students globally get a 7 at HL, the demand for Further Maths will be small.

  4. I can only echo what has been said already. The current FM is tough, only rated at SL, and usually taken as a seventh subject. It is a brave student who adds it to an already heavy programme.
    The new syllabus is great, and it will rate at HL, and best of all there is no IA!
    Unlike A-level and Further Maths, it provides an excellent foundation for serious university maths courses.

  5. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    Yes, thinking a bit more about things, this is certainly going to be a problem for students who are weak outside of maths and science. Taking only 6 subjects, including Further Maths would mean that they would have to squeeze a HL out of one of their weaker subjects.

    I guess there are a fair number of students currently doing HL Biology, Chemistry or Computer Science who would have done FM if it was rated at HL. So it will be very interesting to see what happens next year.
  6. Its a tough little course.
    I have never taught it but been through the course text (Cambrdige SL firther Maths one) yet can understand why (i) the uptake and (ii) the completion rate is low.
    IIRC some of the topics are in line with A level Further Pure 2/3 which for pupils of that age would be a big challenge and one some may pass on in favour of other courses.
    Is this?:
    (i) An account of your teaching ability
    (ii) The kids ability
    (iii) A case of the exam not being as fierce as some may fear

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