New Maths GCSE 2010

My maths chal­lenge was to sit a Maths GCSE exam in June 2011. My moti­va­tion was to learn as much as I could about the exam so that I could help my chil­dren when they take their exams in a few years time. One of the first things I dis­cov­ered was that the Maths GCSE syl­labus being taught from Sep­tem­ber 2010 had changed and that the first chance to sit the new syl­labus exam would be in June 2012. This posed a dilemma, should I take the old exam so that I could meet the orig­i­nal tar­get date or should I go for the new exam a year later? I didn’t take me long to decide. The whole rea­son for start­ing my maths chal­lenge was to help my chil­dren. They would be taught the new syl­labus so I must study that same syl­labus. I resolved to use the extra time to study more thor­oughly and to make this blog a use­ful learn­ing resource for my family.

I was intrigued to find out more about the rea­sons for the change.  The change to Maths GCSE is part of a drive to place more empha­sis on func­tional skills. This means that stu­dents will be expected to demon­strate prac­ti­cal maths skills for use in every­day life. There will be more ques­tions requir­ing prob­lem solv­ing skills and applied maths. So the change is more about a change the way ques­tions are framed than the con­tent of the syl­labus. Indeed there will only be minor changes to the subject’s content.

These changes seemed to have been well received as they give teach­ers the oppor­tu­nity to make lessons more inter­est­ing with real life appli­ca­tions. It cer­tainly makes sense to me. The vast major­ity of stu­dents sit­ting Maths GCSE will not study Maths at A-level, let alone at uni­ver­sity level. They are more likely to be engaged by applied maths using real life appli­ca­tions than pure maths. In addi­tion they will find the prob­lem solv­ing skills use­ful in the real world.

There are three “Assess­ment Objectives” :-

1) Recall and use their knowl­edge of the pre­scribed con­tent (45% to 55% weighting).

2) Select and apply math­e­mat­i­cal meth­ods in a range of con­texts (25% to 35% weighting).

3) Inter­pret and analyse prob­lems and gen­er­ate strate­gies to solve them (15% to 25% weighting).

Now in plain Eng­lish! Objec­tive 1) Do you know the syl­labus? Objec­tives 2) & 3) Can you use your maths knowl­edge in every­day life to solve problems?

Just a word of warn­ing about pre­sen­ta­tion of answers. Up to 5% of the marks will be deter­mined by the “Qual­ity of Writ­ten Con­tent” (QWC). This cov­ers; using the appro­pri­ate form (e.g. for­mu­las, equa­tions, dia­grams etc), clar­ity, spelling, punc­tu­a­tion and grammar.

What do you think of the new Maths GCSE 2010? Have I missed any­thing impor­tant? Please leave com­ments using the link below.

I found out that my daughter’s school use the AQA exam board. Its set­tled, I will be sit­ting the Maths GCSE 2010 with AQA in June 2012.

My text­book (AQA GCSE Math­e­mat­ics for Higher Sets Stu­dent Book — GCSE Maths AQA 2010  Glyn Payne, et al.) is on its way to me. In the next blog I’ll let you know my first impres­sions of the task in front of me after I’ve had my first scan of all 688 pages!

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2 Responses to New Maths GCSE 2010

  1. Lois Lindemann (@MoreThanMaths) says:

    What a great project! I’m look­ing for­ward to fol­low­ing this blog, I think it will be really inter­est­ing for me as a maths teacher.

    Actu­ally, the con­tent hasn’t really changed for many years now (includ­ing the most recent change), but the style of assess­ment changes quite often — do course­work, do sta­tis­ti­cal course­work, do no course­work at all, do mod­ules with the course divided up one way, do mod­ules with the course divided up another way. It cer­tainly keeps us on our toes.

    I have to say I really like the new func­tional skills ques­tions, using maths to solve prob­lems is what the sub­ject should be all about.

    Good luck with the challenge!

    • admin says:

      Hi Lois– Thanks for your kind com­ments. I’m not sure what I’m get­ting into.. I just hope my maths brain will still work after 30+ years with no prac­tice. It would be great if you could fol­low my progress and put me right if take a wrong turning.

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