These could/should be possibilities for new A-level courses

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Tolgash
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The new courses in question are really an extension to the 'standard' natural sciences that are studied at A-level: A-level further biology, A-level further chemistry and A-level further physics.

I don't see why it is solely mathematics that gets the special treatment with the extension of further mathematics. Surely the sciences could also get their own extensions considering how important STEM is these days and more advanced students can learn more in-depth to prepare them better for undergraduate study at university (if they intend to study it at that level, that is). That seems to be what further mathematics does (or so I've heard before). While wider reading is probably an already-existing good alternative to this, it does beg the question of why mathematics requires its own extension course if that could also be covered by wider-reading.

It has already been stated before that science lacks the maths content that students who wish to study it further require (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17854008) -- this report was admittedly pre-reform, but judging from what my teachers have said about chemistry, the maths content doesn't seem to have changed too drastically. America already has a course called AP Physics C, which includes calculus in its physics, but apparently, A-level physics does not (according to my friend). Why not introduce it in an extension course or something? This is one of the reasons that these courses might be a good thing rather than another reform of the current ones.
Last edited by Tolgash; 1 year ago
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ZombieTheWolf
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A-level further biology? Just split the content of the regular A-level in half, there's enough content to make a further course out of it
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username4217900
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Maths is an extremely important a level which is why it has a further equivalent. Maths & Further Maths are commonly needed for degrees in maths, economics, engineering & physics.
Whereas further bio/chem/physics would only be useful for their respective degrees.

Calculus in physics is done in further maths mechanics modules too.
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Tolgash
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(Original post by rumatar)
Maths is an extremely important a level which is why it has a further equivalent. Maths & Further Maths are commonly needed for degrees in maths, economics, engineering & physics.
Whereas further bio/chem/physics would only be useful for their respective degrees.
Well, maths and further maths (as you say) together is a combination that is not really 'needed' for anything. They may be desired by universities, but none of them ever state that further maths would be required to handle the mathematical content of their course, not even Oxbridge.

Also, the science degrees that these mainly relate to are pretty damn crucial for the country. They probably merit the extension to these courses. Degrees like biochemistry, medicine and engineering wouldn't hurt if their students got a boost by expanding their knowledge of the fundamentals established at A-level. The CBI has already said that they want more teenagers to grasp the essentials of science at GCSE because of how important that in itself is: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/...nce-GCSEs.html

Also, an extension could further prevent this from being a possibility: https://www.theguardian.com/politics...cience.schools -- the opening is very telling, and it states that 'Britain is in danger of running out of scientists because of flaws in its secondary education system...Thousands of potential physicists, biologists and chemists are being lost because of a "stripped-down" science curriculum, a lack of specialist teachers and uninspiring careers advice, the Confederation of British Industry claims.
In the longer term, the British economy is under serious threat as its world-class science base is eroded while it faces strong competition from new, as well as traditional, international rivals.'


I don't see the harm in extending these courses, nor do I feel that it would be unnecessary or a waste of money. The article directly above might be from 2006, but it still stresses how important science is for the economy. There is no reason why science ta A-level can't go deeper.

(Original post by rumatar)
Calculus in physics is done in further maths mechanics modules too.
Yet, for some reason, it is abandoned in the actual physics A-level itself. Suffice to say, I doubt that the further mechanics options in A-level further mathematics can cover the calculus lost in other parts of the physics syllabus.
Last edited by Tolgash; 1 year ago
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