She-Ra
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It's been reported by TES that 61% of comments from 179 schools surveyed stated that students were not prepared or had "little understanding" of what they needed to do to get the top grades.

Students that get top GCSE maths grades have been said to have "bombed" at A-level because their algebra is simply not up to scratch.

It has been suggested that the maths reforms for GCSE will include more algebraic problem solving to help prepare students to step up to A-level.

How did you find GCSE maths? How do you find AS/A2 maths in comparison?

Do you agree that this is the case?

If yes, will more problem solving focused study help?
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Chlorophile
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I'm not sure if putting more algebra into GCSE Maths is the right solution. The point of GCSE Maths is to provide all students with a decent grounding in Mathematics that will help the average person in life, not to provide a stepping-stone to A Level. I think GCSE Maths is hard enough at the moment and serves its purpose. I absolutely wouldn't dispute the fact that there is a big step from GCSE to A Level in terms of the kind of thinking required but to be perfectly honest, it's a step that ought to be fairly manageable for people taking A Level Maths. If you're taking an A Level in Maths, you should firstly be very good at it and secondly be motivated. If you're not capable of pushing yourself to make that leap, I would wonder if taking A Level Maths is really the best decision. Maybe this point of view is unfairly brutal, but I don't think it's right that the education system should be spoon-feeding students. I've briefly cast my eye over the new Maths reforms and as much as I hate the current DoE, I have to admit that the maths (and science) reforms - at least in my view - are good.
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German123
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Maths GCSE was ok for me but some stuff i found hard like vectors,sine and cosine rule and trigonometry.
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TenOfThem
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(Original post by She-Ra)
Do you agree that this is the case?
There is adequate algebra in the GCSE to support A Level

However, a student can achieve an A or A* at GCSE without understanding those sections

So, we do not need to include more algebra, nor do we need to test if more

What we do need to do is ensure that students understand the requirements of A Level - our 11 into 12 work is all algebra based and we make it clear to students that their ability to complete that task will correlate to their ability to do A Level Maths - if they cannot do our worksheet given that they have 10 weeks to revise/practise/complete it then they will not have strong enough algebra skills to start A Level
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davros
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
I'm not sure if putting more algebra into GCSE Maths is the right solution. The point of GCSE Maths is to provide all students with a decent grounding in Mathematics that will help the average person in life, not to provide a stepping-stone to A Level.
The problem is that GCSE is trying to serve both purposes! The old O level / CSE distinction provided one qualification that gave robust preparation for A level and another that provided the basic functional skills required by employers. There are 2 problems with the current system that I see: one is that as TenOfThem says, a student can gain an A* without full understanding of the higher topics; the other is that if someone leaves with a C grade (which ought to be perfectly "respectable") no-one has the slightest idea what this indicates in terms of the candidate's ability - is it good algebra, poor numeracy; good numeracy, poor algebra; a mixture of the two; is it someone who just covered foundation tasks and fully understood them, or someone who attempted higher and got the C with minimal understanding but passed owing to a low grade boundary? But, yes, I agree with you that injecting "more algebra" is not the answer


(Original post by TenOfThem)
There is adequate algebra in the GCSE to support A Level

However, a student can achieve an A or A* at GCSE without understanding those sections

So, we do not need to include more algebra, nor do we need to test if more

What we do need to do is ensure that students understand the requirements of A Level - our 11 into 12 work is all algebra based and we make it clear to students that their ability to complete that task will correlate to their ability to do A Level Maths - if they cannot do our worksheet given that they have 10 weeks to revise/practise/complete it then they will not have strong enough algebra skills to start A Level
Does that 10 weeks start at the beginning of Year 12? Wouldn't it be better to set a shorter time - e.g. 4 weeks - so they could feasibly change subjects if they're just not up to it? 10 weeks seems awfully long to me for a set of skills that really should have been mastered at GCSE.
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TenOfThem
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(Original post by davros)

Does that 10 weeks start at the beginning of Year 12?
No

It starts on Induction day and ends when they hand the work in on the first lesson of year 12
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alpen
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tbh most people bomb a-levels because they simply don't work hard enough and adjust to the jump, not that the algebra taught at GCSE is inadequate (it's not, you're constantly learning algebra through most a-level topics anyway)
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davros
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(Original post by TenOfThem)
No

It starts on Induction day and ends when they hand the work in on the first lesson of year 12
Ah, that makes more sense! Do you know whether most schools take that approach - it would sort out a lot of the students who don't understand what they're taking on!
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TenOfThem
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(Original post by davros)
Ah, that makes more sense! Do you know whether most schools take that approach - it would sort out a lot of the students who don't understand what they're taking on!
Not enough do

bums on seats takes priority
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alpen
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B at GCSE, found AS/A2 maths pretty easy in comparison (got A* and an A* in further) - I was always not that good at the basic real life maths problems anyway.

No, C1 gives you the most basic foundations of algebra which are then developed throughout a-levels with things like partial fractions

No, it's fine the way it is
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davros
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(Original post by TenOfThem)
Not enough do

bums on seats takes priority
I suppose it's even worse for students who leave a school with no sixth form to go on to do A levels at an FE college - they could be in any state by September
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TenOfThem
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(Original post by davros)
I suppose it's even worse for students who leave a school with no sixth form to go on to do A levels at an FE college - they could be in any state by September
very true
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Sandtrooper
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
I'm not sure if putting more algebra into GCSE Maths is the right solution. The point of GCSE Maths is to provide all students with a decent grounding in Mathematics that will help the average person in life, not to provide a stepping-stone to A Level. I think GCSE Maths is hard enough at the moment and serves its purpose. I absolutely wouldn't dispute the fact that there is a big step from GCSE to A Level in terms of the kind of thinking required but to be perfectly honest, it's a step that ought to be fairly manageable for people taking A Level Maths. If you're taking an A Level in Maths, you should firstly be very good at it and secondly be motivated. If you're not capable of pushing yourself to make that leap, I would wonder if taking A Level Maths is really the best decision. Maybe this point of view is unfairly brutal, but I don't think it's right that the education system should be spoon-feeding students. I've briefly cast my eye over the new Maths reforms and as much as I hate the current DoE, I have to admit that the maths (and science) reforms - at least in my view - are good.
Exactly.

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