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Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by welshbandit, May 20, 2011.
Anyone with views about these papers this week?
I'm on maternity leave at the moment, so I haven't seen the papers yet, but I'd be interested to find out what people thought of them.
One of my colleagues said that both papers were 'challenging' with a few 'tricky parts' on C2.
C2 was generally ok but there were a couple of tricky sections. On the whole C1 was a bit mean - every question had either some awkward number work or a difficult factorisation to perform. The last question on the paper was an optimisation problem which has not appeared in context for a number of years and this made some of our students panic although most of them managed to get something down.
C1 I thought was generally fair and as normal apart from question 10 on optimisation. According to my records such a question set in context has not appeared since November 2002, which was the old P1 paper. Several of our students were also set off into panic mode on seeing this question as they did not realise until it was to late that this was a max and min question, and consquently did not complete the question fully. This IMO is somewhat sneaky from the chief examiner to set a question that has not been around for close to 9 years!!
Secondly is it fair to this year's canidates when you bear in mind the number of candidates who have sat in the last 9 years who did not have to face such a question under exam conditions?
C2 was very much standard in my view apart from question 7b on manipulation of logs using the usual three rules. The use of 0.5log(to the base a) [x to the power 8] instead of a number in place for x seemingly derailed several of our students.
One of the reasons we moved from WJEC a ffew years ago was because we felt it had become too predictable. OCR MEI seems to stretch students rather more. They find it taxing to begin with but seem to do very nicely by year 13 and the numbers who are moving onto Maths courses at University has increased.
The papers and markschemes should appear on the WJEC secure website in the next few weeks. Marking the C1 paper I can tell you that it is obvious which centres have taught optimisation and which haven't.
One of my colleagues said exactly the same thing.
I know our school definitely taught it, but whether the students actually bothered to revise it is another matter!
Thoughts on C4?
On first reading, the C4 paper seemed standard, however the actual mathematics needed to answer some of the questions appeared to be more demanding in IMO as compared to previous years papers. This paper I feel was set to test and search for the well drilled and able pupils in particular. The average candidate would have really found it extremely difficult in particular to complete fully the questions numbered 1,3,6,7 and 8. As a consequence it would appear to me that many students would certainly have had an unpleasant experience in sitting this exam and also felt that they had properly failed it as well.
I am inclined to agree with Welshbandit, however I am in favour with the way that the WJEC Mathematics exams seem to be going. Having a chat with the outgoing chief examiner the other day he said that the perception was that their exams were becoming formulaic and they wanted to move away from this. I think that there GCSE and A Level papers for the last ttwo years are following this trend. In particular, this C4 paper did not have any question or topic that is not explicitly in the course or has not been assessed before but the questions were put in a slightly different context and did not require the same drill as the past papers.
I hadn't actually seen the paper when I posted on Monday (as I'm on maternity leave) but, after having a good look at it, I agree with both of you. For students who have really understood the course, the questions were tricky but do-able. For the less able students, the exam probably made them feel awful!
My niece sat the paper and, even though she's a very able student, she told me that she only answered about 2 marks on the back page as she ran out of time and, after speaking to my colleagues, it seems that the majority of our students said they didn't have enough time either.
I think my niece summed it up quite nicely when she said "I don't mind them sticking in 1 or 2 awkward questions, but why did they put a twist on half of them?!" I like to see challenging papers, but I do feel sorry for the students who have to sit them!
I really hope the grade boundaries reflect the opinion of the students, as I've been worrying that those needing A*s won't get them!
Any thoughts on the grade boundaries?