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# New maths and further maths A Levels Watch

1. "Understand and use the Normal distribution as a model; find probabilities
using the Normal distribution
Link to histograms, mean, standard deviation, points of inflection and the
binomial distribution "

not sure what this is about...
2. (Original post by Mr M)
Additional FM is dead. Question choice is a possibility - Awarding Bodies would need to submit specimen papers to Ofqual for approval and cross their fingers.

Coursework is gone so wave goodbye to the MEI numerical methods task.
Whilst this doesn't affect me I do think the removal of Additional FM is a shame. M5 was much more mathematically interesting than other modules and actually required some understanding of the technicalities of integration and differentiation and whilst it was an extremely niche module I will be sad to see it go. However, my perspective is a very particular one and the vast majority of students won't miss it as they never knew it existed.

From a teaching perspective, do you consider the changes good or bad?

(Original post by arrow900)
They should just set STEP styled papers on each module. It would massively increase the credibility of Maths A Levels and would also improve the problem solving ability of the average student entering University.
Could you elaborate more on what you mean by "STEP styled"? Look at the statistics:

Total Entries in STEP papers (2013) - 3334

(By Wikipedia, it has a citation to the official STEP website but the document on the website has been removed)

Total A Level Maths entries (2013) - 88060

( https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a...ever-before%20 )

As people often enter more than one unless they are a Warwick student, the number of individuals sitting STEP papers is actually somewhat lower. If you accept the assumption that those taking STEP represent the top of the cohort and that a good portion of these do not manage to attain the grades for uni entry, then I think anything close to the level of difficulty of STEP would go down catastrophically.
3. (Original post by the bear)
small angle approximations have been resurrected !!!

it is a sine of the times

I'm also a small angle fan.

4. (Original post by the bear)
"Understand and use numerical integration of functions, including finding the
approximate area under a curve and limits that it must lie between".... does this just mean the Trapezium Rule or does it go further ?
Could be Simpson's Rule.
5. (Original post by DJMayes)
From a teaching perspective, do you consider the changes good or bad?.
Good. The risk is uptake (particularly of FM) will fall. Core Maths is being introduced for weaker students (those with B and C grades at GCSE) but it is rubbish and no replacement.
6. "Link graphical transformations to transformations of the equation of the
Normal probability curve for N(µ, σ2) for fixed σ and changing µ,
and for µ = 0 and changing σ"

ain't never done this before

nor this:

"Interpret a correlation coefficient as a test statistic and use it in a hypothesis
tes"

7. (Original post by Mr M)
I'm also a small angle fan.

8. (Original post by Mr M)
Could be Simpson's Rule.
that's OK
9. (Original post by the bear)
"Link graphical transformations to transformations of the equation of the
Normal probability curve for N(µ, σ2) for fixed σ and changing µ,
and for µ = 0 and changing σ"

ain't never done this before

nor this:

"Interpret a correlation coefficient as a test statistic and use it in a hypothesis
tes"

That's S3 hypothesis testing, testing both spearman's rank and PMCC
10. Those are exactly the kind of things I would have recommended. This new education secretary may not be all bad! (Yes, I do realise these plans have probably been in the pipeline since last year.)
11. (Original post by plusC)
That's S3 hypothesis testing, testing both spearman's rank and PMCC
The statistics is harder* than the mechanics.

* By harder I mean that the content comes from higher numbered modules.
12. Decision is going, I am crying forever.

No, I understand why people would see it as the least maths of the maths, so to speak. However, I'm always a fan of more choice so it's a shame to see that there's no longer a third route for students who may not be as strong in science-related maths and not enjoy statistics, and it could make them want to drop it?

But alas, what do I know.
13. (Original post by the bear)
"Link graphical transformations to transformations of the equation of the
Normal probability curve for N(µ, σ2) for fixed σ and changing µ,
and for µ = 0 and changing σ"

ain't never done this before
I think it's about standardizing the normal distribution in terms of stretches and translations etc.

Posted from TSR Mobile
14. (Original post by Mr M)
The statistics is harder* than the mechanics.

* By harder I mean that the content comes from higher numbered modules.
I think the Mechanics content of A level has always been pretty well designed to be honest.

Presumably there was room for including more difficult statistical concepts by throwing away some of the pointless drivel that used to be part of S1
15. (Original post by Mr M)
Good. The risk is uptake (particularly of FM) will fall. Core Maths is being introduced for weaker students (those with B and C grades at GCSE) but it is rubbish and no replacement.
it is not intended as a replacement and I disagree that it is rubbish - it is designed for a purpose - that students do not start university having forgotten the little maths they did to scrape their C (or even B) and then find themselves incapable of doing the basic maths that their courses require
16. (Original post by DJMayes)
Whilst this doesn't affect me I do think the removal of Additional FM is a shame. M5 was much more mathematically interesting than other modules and actually required some understanding of the technicalities of integration and differentiation and whilst it was an extremely niche module I will be sad to see it go. However, my perspective is a very particular one and the vast majority of students won't miss it as they never knew it existed.

From a teaching perspective, do you consider the changes good or bad?

Could you elaborate more on what you mean by "STEP styled"? Look at the statistics:

Total Entries in STEP papers (2013) - 3334

(By Wikipedia, it has a citation to the official STEP website but the document on the website has been removed)

Total A Level Maths entries (2013) - 88060

( https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a...ever-before%20 )

As people often enter more than one unless they are a Warwick student, the number of individuals sitting STEP papers is actually somewhat lower. If you accept the assumption that those taking STEP represent the top of the cohort and that a good portion of these do not manage to attain the grades for uni entry, then I think anything close to the level of difficulty of STEP would go down catastrophically.
For now perhaps, but then I would predict that schools would heavily focus on problem solving, in order to even stand a chance of getting a decent success rate.
This would increase the overall mathematical ability of the students. Though this may time quite some time (10-20 years) to truly come into effect , the advantages would heavily outweigh the disadvantages.
I sense that I am perhaps missing a fundamental flaw in this idea, but I can't see it right now.
Posted from TSR Mobile
17. (Original post by TenOfThem)
it is not intended as a replacement and I disagree that it is rubbish - it is designed for a purpose - that students do not start university having forgotten the little maths they did to scrape their C (or even B) and then find themselves incapable of doing the basic maths that their courses require
The purpose is admirable but the specifications I have seen are in no way fit for purpose.
18. (Original post by Mr M)
The purpose is admirable but the specifications I have seen are in no way fit for purpose.
The requirements from HE (according to the reports I have seen) are -

Do some maths
Be able to apply some maths
Understand some stats
19. (Original post by arrow900)
I sense that I am perhaps missing a fundamental flaw in this idea, but I can't see it right now.
The fundamental flaw is that numbers studying the subject will collapse if it is perceived to have become more difficult. When Curriculum 2000 was introduced take-up plunged by 19%.
20. (Original post by arrow900)
For now perhaps, but then I would predict that schools would heavily focus on problem solving, in order to even stand a chance of getting a decent success rate.
This would increase the overall mathematical ability of the students. Though this may time quite some time (10-20 years) to truly come into effect , the advantages would heavily outweigh the disadvantages.
I sense that I am perhaps missing a fundamental flaw in this idea, but I can't see it right now.
Posted from TSR Mobile
The situation would of course get somewhat better but you are either overestimating the ability of the general cohort or underestimating STEP. People would get better on average but I highly doubt that much better, and either you would have the vast majority of people failing or absolutely laughable grade boundaries to ensure reasonable numbers pass.

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Updated: August 13, 2014
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