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# New maths and further maths A Levels Watch

1. What is the scope for schools saying "sod this for a game of soldiers" and entering pupils for something Welsh or international?
2. (Original post by PhysicsKid)
My lessons were always quite good like that, but the Maths was no way near that level, even at age 16! The units I suggested cover really all the areas that used to be covered: basic calculus, stats/mech, complex numbers, matrices etc, so if a modest percentage of young students in the pass could do it, why only a miniscule number now?
Let's go back to 1979, when I took my O Levels

Yes - we did calculus and a lot more trig, we even touched on some complex numbers
No - we did not do matrices and we did almost no stats - apart from averages I did no stats until I started teaching
We certainly did not do everything that you are now suggesting

In that year about 24% of students achieved a C or better in O'Level maths - I do not know the break down of A/B/C grades but the norm referencing suggests that it would certainly be less than 10% - probably close to the % that currently achieve A*

So - the students did different things (harder perhaps) and still only a small number achieved the highest grade
3. (Original post by nulli tertius)
What is the scope for schools saying "sod this for a game of soldiers" and entering pupils for something Welsh or international?
zero scope for state schools as they will not count in the Dfe measures
4. (Original post by Slowbro93)
Yes however you'll essentially alienate a massive group of students. Let's take biology for example. There's only so much maths you can include before you end up in the situation of needing some serious understanding of differential equations (systems is what comes to mind). This wouldn't be covered till FM at least. The same goes for psychology. You need a good understanding of statistics so the option should be there for maths but making it compulsory for A Level could have a serious knock on effect up to university level.

In addition, I remember taking biology A Level. It was the hardest thing I took at A Level and dropped it the moment I could!
For Biology/Psychology, the maximum requirement would be A2 Maths. It's also why I suggested teaching C1/C2/S1/M1/FP1/C3 in KS4 (or as much of it as students could handle), because then we would have highly competent scientists:
AS Biologists/Psychologists would have done all the above plus C4, S2 and M2.
A2 Biologists/Psychologists/AS Chemists- as above + FP2/FP3/S3
A2 Chemists/AS Physicists- as above + M3/S4/M4
A2 Physicists- as above plus M5/S5/M6 or S6.
5. (Original post by PhysicsKid)
For Biology/Psychology, the maximum requirement would be A2 Maths. It's also why I suggested teaching C1/C2/S1/M1/FP1/C3 in KS4 (or as much of it as students could handle), because then we would have highly competent scientists:
AS Biologists/Psychologists would have done all the above plus C4, S2 and M2.
A2 Biologists/Psychologists/AS Chemists- as above + FP2/FP3/S3
A2 Chemists/AS Physicists- as above + M3/S4/M4
A2 Physicists- as above plus M5/S5/M6 or S6.
Yes, but we would also have a bunch of students who don't get maths struggling to get a C! (and these are students who didn't get picked up in the system at an earlier stage and it's only when they can't do simple linear equations before they sit their GCSE exam in May that eyebrows are being raised)

Your idea assumes that:

1. The pass rate for A/A* is fairly high
2. The pass rate in general is fairly high

Which we cannot assume.
6. (Original post by TenOfThem)
Let's go back to 1979, when I took my O Levels

Yes - we did calculus and a lot more trig, we even touched on some complex numbers
No - we did not do matrices and we did almost no stats - apart from averages I did no stats until I started teaching
We certainly did not do everything that you are now suggesting

In that year about 24% of students achieved a C or better in O'Level maths - I do not know the break down of A/B/C grades but the norm referencing suggests that it would certainly be less than 10% - probably close to the % that currently achieve A*

So - the students did different things (harder perhaps) and still only a small number achieved the highest grade
Presumably the top quartile could virtually all get Cs or above then? Presumably then the top 10% or so could get an A (2 years worth of Maths study early).
7. (Original post by PhysicsKid)
Presumably the top quartile could virtually all get Cs or above then? Presumably then the top 10% or so could get an A (2 years worth of Maths study early).
You have lost me - how do you think the evidence I gave means that we could have achieved that 2 years earlier?
8. (Original post by TenOfThem)
You have lost me - how do you think the evidence I gave means that we could have achieved that 2 years earlier?
I got lost about 20 posts ago.
9. (Original post by Mr M)
I got lost about 20 posts ago.
I have tried.

I have presented evidence and statistics.

I now have no idea what Physicskid is thinking.

(Please note the periods.)
10. why can't a paper similar to the AEA (targeting A/A* students) be made for physics, chemistry, biology, econmics. ect that assumes A level maths knowledge
This would help "Problem solving skills" which can only used to a
certain degree in A level maths.
This is why mechanics modules are really good, often there are unstructured 9/10 mark questions (edexcel) however it's tricky for most students to do m3/m4/m5
I think there is a report somewhere saying how students who have
taken M1 and M2 do better at engineering at university
11. (Original post by TenOfThem)
(Please note the periods.)
Have you just discovered your American roots?
12. (Original post by Mr M)
Have you just discovered your American roots?
I was attempting to hide my previous punctuation failings by the use of subtlety.
13. (Original post by Slowbro93)
Yes, but we would also have a bunch of students who don't get maths struggling to get a C! (and these are students who didn't get picked up in the system at an earlier stage and it's only when they can't do simple linear equations before they sit their GCSE exam in May that eyebrows are being raised)

Your idea assumes that:

1. The pass rate for A/A* is fairly high
2. The pass rate in general is fairly high

Which we cannot assume.
I suppose it depends on whether you think that students who can't get a secure A or higher in GCSE Maths- excepting those with extenuating circumstances and in particularly deprived areas- should be able to do A Level Sciences (that would be no longer devoid of Maths).

I'd argue that enthusiastic/able students who aren't pursuing this route for the prospects/status must demonstrate at least that level of mathematical fluency, but mostly from algebra/vector/trig/indices/harder geometry questions.

Similarly, I'd say that there should be more high quality further education providers so that the minimum KS5 entry offer is averaging solid Bs with solid Bs in Maths and English. Especially with grade inflation, that shouldn't be too taxing for most, nor out of reach for current C aspiring students- who could do well to aim that bit higher.
14. (Original post by TenOfThem)
You have lost me - how do you think the evidence I gave means that we could have achieved that 2 years earlier?
The challenge from those units should be similar to those of your O Level, perhaps purposefully set at that sort of level if my suggestion is deemed slightly too hard.
15. (Original post by TenOfThem)
You have lost me - how do you think the evidence I gave means that we could have achieved that 2 years earlier?
And perhaps I didn't articulate that very well, but what I meant is compared to the current A Level timeline, as Maths & FM AS often spans 2 years. Apologies if I've confused you or am constructing a somewhat circular argument, I'm just really passionate about this area and was interested in good debate/seeing how such an idea might work from experienced teachers.
16. (Original post by PhysicsKid)
For Biology/Psychology, the maximum requirement would be A2 Maths. It's also why I suggested teaching C1/C2/S1/M1/FP1/C3 in KS4 (or as much of it as students could handle), because then we would have highly competent scientists:
AS Biologists/Psychologists would have done all the above plus C4, S2 and M2.
A2 Biologists/Psychologists/AS Chemists- as above + FP2/FP3/S3
A2 Chemists/AS Physicists- as above + M3/S4/M4
A2 Physicists- as above plus M5/S5/M6 or S6.
You are deluded mate.
17. (Original post by TenOfThem)
zero scope for state schools as they will not count in the Dfe measures
If a school has two A level sets, surely not counting the bottom set in the league tables by teaching them something else improves the school's overall performance.

Isn't it the same as sending the disruptive kids on a field trip on the day of an inspection?
18. (Original post by nulli tertius)
If a school has two A level sets, surely not counting the bottom set in the league tables by teaching them something else improves the school's overall performance.

Isn't it the same as sending the disruptive kids on a field trip on the day of an inspection?
Ok ... Schools with 2 a level sets are rare ... If there is a bottom group they should be doing something different that does count

Your field trip comment does not seem relevant ... I thought we were doing what was good for the students
19. (Original post by PhysicsKid)
The challenge from those units should be similar to those of your O Level, perhaps purposefully set at that sort of level if my suggestion is deemed slightly too hard.
No ... Did you not read what I did and did not study
20. (Original post by Super199)
You are deluded mate.
Haha. In a world where 50% must ideologically go to uni, maybe. But if fewer went to uni and attended more relevant courses/skills training, maybe we wouldn't have £9k fees. There should be much more streamlining of students, with high quality alternative routes- to get into an academic college for example you should be aiming for solid Bs (including English and Maths) imo because Cs demonstrate more of a governmental hoop than meaningful competency.

My suggestion would do that, and I mean, it would only be for what 4 subjects, which you could do BTEC/NVQ Level 3/4/5/6 and onward in instead. Why should the sciences be stripped of any level of even intermediate maths in such a competitive and crucial climate?

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Updated: August 13, 2014
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