Tag Archives: mathematics

Aside

I want to talk about normalized percentages. “What makes these irrational?”, I hear you say. Their application to examinations and assessments is what.
The big change for students completing A-levels this year was the introduction of the A* – an attempt to increase the value of the ‘gold standard’, as I see it. Unless of course you are taking Maths, Further Maths, Further Maths (Additional), Statistics, and Use of Maths AS. No AS will have the A* grade available.
“We can’t rely on A-levels any more.” [Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College quoted in The Sunday Times].
Lower tier students (oops, I mean foundation…) are expected to work proportionately harder to achieve the higher grades than those doing the higher tier.
Does a C at GCSE mean they did enough to get 60% of each question correct but not reach the final answer of any of the problems? Or am I just being silly?
I have one word which I feel would address most, if not all, of these issues: portfolios.
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Aside

No, you didn’t mis-read, I do think that mathematics is a language, with its own culture and literature, but seemingly inaccessible to the non-speakers.
Those of you, like me, who ‘get it’ and, more to the point, understand and enjoy teaching mathematics probably feel the same frustration as a tourist in the Brazilian rainforest trying to describe a 4G phone to an Amazonian who knows what telephones are, but doesn’t really see how they can be useful in hunting tapir… At least, if you’re anything like me you will! Continue reading