The Times: Edexcel P1 "Too Tough" Watch

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Davido
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OK I remember after Edexcel P1, especially on AS Guru they was an outcry of protest. Someone who got
74/75 in a mock doubted they got 50%. And as this was for many the first AS exam, it put them off
the rest of exams - the idea that they worked so hard and found the paper impossible.

Now there's the revelation in the article below that you'll need abt 20% for an E, 50% for an A. If
you do actually need 50% to get an A, then this means that whether you got 47/75 or 75/75, you will
have UMS 100%. Ridiculous....

================================ ==========

july 14, 2002

edexcel’s maths exam ‘too tough’ geraldine hackett, education correspondent

the edexcel exam board may have to award passes in an as-level pure maths paper to sixth-formers
with as little as 20% of the total marks. examiners may also have to give a grades to students who
correctly answered only about half the paper after it became clear the exam was far too difficult
for the bulk of students.

the disclosure comes as it emerged yesterday that edexcel plans to stop offering gcses and a-levels
altogether. senior managers want instead to concentrate on vocational qualifications. they are in
discussions to hive off other exams to pearson, the educational publishing company.

the exam board has come under constant criticism for its mistakes in papers and failure to deal
quickly with complaints. ministers earlier this year ordered edexcel to improve its services.

the failure to set a paper at the standard required for the maths as-level will add to the
criticisms.

examiners are forbidden to talk to newspapers, but one said on condition of anonymity: “this
kind of paper is unfair to students. last year the as maths failure rate was around 30% compared
with about 10% in other subjects. this time the two other boards pitched the exam much
better.”

the qualifications and curriculum authority (qca) says an a grade should normally go to candidates
who get 80% of the marks, and a pass should mean 40% of the paper was answered correctly.

an examiner from another board said there had been complaints about the edexcel paper from schools:
“i don’t know how this paper could have got through. it has caused a huge
problem.”

the pure maths paper is usually marked out of 60 and for an e grade — the lowest pass —
candidates need 24 marks. on the edexcel paper that would be closer to 12.

nigel wood-smith, head of maths at st albans, an independent school in hertfordshire where pupils
sat the ocr board’s exam, said it appeared that the edexcel pure maths exam had been “a
rogue paper”. he said: “it is a problem where boards have to award a pass to students
who have managed only 20% of the marks. when the marks are so few you can’t pick out those who
understand the maths.”

last year’s high failure rate at as-level has led to fewer sixth-formers taking the full
maths a-level.

Comment from s-cool user who posted this msg originally:

ok ok, maybe its not exactly proof as such, but it does back up what i think. i came out of the exam
feeling complete ****. i remember talking to one of my good mates, who does ocr, about his p1 exam,
and his reply was "yeah, it was ****-easy! don't know why i bothered revising!".
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John Porcella
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"Davido" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]> OK I remember after Edexcel P1, especially on AS Guru they was an outcry of protest. Someone who[/q1]
[q1]> got 74/75 in a mock doubted they got 50%. And as this was for many the first AS exam, it put them[/q1]
[q1]> off the rest of exams - the idea that they worked so hard and found the paper impossible.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Now there's the revelation in the article below that you'll need abt 20% for an E, 50% for an A.[/q1]
[q1]> If you do actually need 50% to get an A, then this means that whether you got 47/75 or 75/75, you[/q1]
[q1]> will have UMS 100%. Ridiculous....[/q1]

Not quite as ridiculous as you think: 37.5 would be a UMS of 80% (since 75 x 50% = 37.5). Since the
scale is linear, you would need to get 20 marks beyond 37.5 to get UMS = 100% i.e. 37.5 + 20 = 57.5.

That is the whole point of UMSs; it matters not whether a paper is hard or easy, you should still
score the same mark in the end.

However, given that it is the first AS paper, they ought to make it easier to encourage students for
later travails.

--
MESSAGE ENDS. John Porcella
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Unregistered
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i know this is a long time since you posted but do you know where i could get a copy of the article either online or off, the library doesnt have copies that far back, re:[email protected]
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Tednol
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I thought the general consensus was that Edexcel P1 this year was a walk in the park?
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Ollie
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look at the date tendol
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yeh i think that was for last years p1, which i felt hard but did not know everything inside out,

however this p3, i revised and practiced like hell expecting 90-100%, but when i took the test i felt worse than p1 last year,

so looks like grade boundaries will be lowered again
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Tednol
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LOL good point, sorry.
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Petrozzi
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bump.
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bones
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Are we talking about P1 from June 2002 here? I remember finding that paper difficult, but not -too- difficult. Maybe I was lucky and a few more of the workings clicked in my brain for that one. Anyway that was nothing compared to this year's P3 which came straight from satan's arse via one way express.

Anyway there was a key point there....'understanding the math'. Many people can understand how to use the relevant math from the syllabus, the problem is that the relevant math is hidden so much within the question. You can usually do well if you can crack the question and actually answer what is being asked for, which is a skill in its own right.
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Unregistered
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Poor us - the people in Class of 2003 who do Edexcel A-level Math. Rogue P1 paper and rogue P3 paper. Major ego deflation in both years.
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