Interesting report into post-16 study of maths released today Watch

Mr M
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Enjoy!

https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...in_2014-15.pdf
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DFranklin
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Possibly I'm too "out of the loop" regarding the minutae of current education systems, but I found this pretty hard to follow. Any particular highlights you'd like to single out?

The one question that comes up on here fairly often that it would be nice to know is "if a student gets grade Y at GCSE and starts the A-level, what's the probability of them getting a grade X at A-level?"

However, it didn't look to me like this was going to be extractable from the paper.
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Indeterminate
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One thing that i'm not surprised to hear of is the reluctance of GCSE grade B candidates to do maths at A level.

But it's also clear that people who score very highly at GCSE are almost certain to pick maths at A-level, which is very good to see!
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DFranklin
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(Original post by Indeterminate)
One thing that i'm not surprised to hear of is the reluctance of GCSE grade B candidates to do maths at A level.
Well, 21% participate(*) at AS but only 5% at A-level, so it seems there's more than an 80% dropout between the two exams.. My guess would be this has far more to do with "the reluctance of people who do badly at AS to continue with a subject for another year than the actual GCSE grade (**)" - I'm guessing very few people start AS maths without the intention of taking the A-level.

Also around a 50% dropout between AS and A-level for those getting an A at GCSE.

(*) OK, I've now checked the document quite carefully (and the "technical document" they link), and I can't see any actual definition of what the mean by "participation". I don't think I'm being pedantic in wanting this clarified, since there's quite a difference between "participated for 3 days at the beginning of the year before quitting the course" and "participated for the full year and took the exam at the end". (With lots of possible definitions in-between as well, of course).

(**) Of course, there's a correlation between AS grade and GCSE grade, but I think someone doing well at AS level wouldn't give a fig about their GCSE result.
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Indeterminate
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(Original post by DFranklin)
Well, 21% participate(*) at AS but only 5% at A-level, so it seems there's more than an 80% dropout between the two exams.. My guess would be this has far more to do with "the reluctance of people who do badly at AS to continue with a subject for another year than the actual GCSE grade (**)" - I'm guessing very few people start AS maths without the intention of taking the A-level.

Also around a 50% dropout between AS and A-level for those getting an A at GCSE.

(*) OK, I've now checked the document quite carefully (and the "technical document" they link), and I can't see any actual definition of what the mean by "participation". I don't think I'm being pedantic in wanting this clarified, since there's quite a difference between "participated for 3 days at the beginning of the year before quitting the course" and "participated for the full year and took the exam at the end". (With lots of possible definitions in-between as well, of course).

(**) Of course, there's a correlation between AS grade and GCSE grade, but I think someone doing well at AS level wouldn't give a fig about their GCSE result.
Hmmm you might be right.

With a grade B at GCSE, perhaps they just want to have a go at AS maths to see where they get. But even so, that's a big dropout between AS and A2. But as you've said, this report isn't terribly clear in its wording so it'd hard to see what certain things actually mean :hmmmm:
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DFranklin
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(Original post by Indeterminate)
Hmmm you might be right.

With a grade B at GCSE, perhaps they just want to have a go at AS maths to see where they get. But even so, that's a big dropout between AS and A2. But as you've said, this report isn't terribly clear in its wording so it'd hard to see what certain things actually mean :hmmmm:
There was a "can I do A-level maths with GCSE grade C?" thread quite recently where I dug up some other stats [1]:
(Original post by DFranklin)
I found a Cambridge Assessments document from 2010. Assuming I'm reading it right, the sobering statistics:

Of people with GCSE grade B who took the AS level, roughly 3/4 failed to even take the A-level.
That seems to match these stats pretty accurately, making me think that "participate" means "took the exam". (Of course, it doesn't completely rule out other meanings. If "participate" means "started the course", we could have, say, that 10000 start the AS, 2500 take the AS, all of them start the A-level and 625 take the A-level", and that would be consistent with both sets of stats. It doesn't exactly seem likely, however).

I hypothesized that (talking about a 85% dropout rate from AS to A-level amongst candidates with a C at GCSE):

"The actual dropout rate (including those who don't take the AS) is probably a lot higher.
And Mr M confirmed that in his experience most would drop out within a few weeks (and so not even appear in the Cambridge Assessments statistcs)

[1] http://www.cambridgeassessment.org.u...evel-2010-.pdf (see tables 2 and 3 in particular)
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Mr M
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(Original post by DFranklin)
Possibly I'm too "out of the loop" regarding the minutae of current education systems, but I found this pretty hard to follow. Any particular highlights you'd like to single out?

The one question that comes up on here fairly often that it would be nice to know is "if a student gets grade Y at GCSE and starts the A-level, what's the probability of them getting a grade X at A-level?"

However, it didn't look to me like this was going to be extractable from the paper.
It's isn't extractable.

Table 2 contains the baffling statistic that 2% of students who achieved grade B in GCSE maths go on to study mathematics post-16 at a level below GCSE. This increases to 8% of those who attained grade C.

Table 7 highlights the gender gap from various starting points.

Table 10 shows which subjects the able mathematicians who do not choose A level maths pick instead.

Table 12 shows that students who attain grade B at GCSE do not often go on to study A level maths. This is compared to the take-up in History and English Literature from the same starting points. We are supposed to agree this is a terrible thing but the reality is these students are receiving appropriate advice.

Table 13 highlights the value of studying Further Maths if you want to read a mathematical science degree at a Russell Group university.
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DFranklin
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(Original post by Mr M)
It's isn't extractable.

Table 2 contains the baffling statistic that 2% of students who achieved grade B in GCSE maths go on to study mathematics post-16 at a level below GCSE. This increases to 8% of those who attained grade C.
One wonders what level that might be... :confused:

Table 12 shows that students who attain grade B at GCSE do not often go on to study A level maths. This is compared to the take-up in History and English Literature from the same starting points. We are supposed to agree this is a terrible thing but the reality is these students are receiving appropriate advice.
Or doing terribly during their AS and having the decision made for them, so to speak...

Table 13 highlights the value of studying Further Maths if you want to read a mathematical science degree at a Russell Group university.
Ayup...
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