The removal of decision! Applied in the New A Level Maths.
In the world of the new A Level Maths, one of the most significant changes applies to the...applied modules! Firstly to say, a lot of the content itself for Mechanics and Statistics has remained the same, so you will still see resolving forces for the years to come...
So what has changed?
Applied content is compulsory
Statistics and mechanics are compulsory: AS and A Level Maths have 100% prescribed content, containing both pure and applied mathematics, which means that there are now no options available to choose from. All year 1 and year 2 A Level Maths students will now be assessed on both statistics and mechanics. This takes out the element of decision (excuse the pun) and means students will be less worried about the choices they make in their A Level. At school, I studied up to M6 in Further Maths (which says something about my age!) and absolutely loved it. When studying my Physics degree all those modules were endlessly useful and if I'm honest, I'm very sad to see the option of just concentrating on mechanics or statistics in the A Level go.
Both applied modules are now mixed in with pure
Not only are the exams now all at the end of the second year, the applied content is now mixed in with the pure and is not in it's own modular exams. Traditionally, schools have separated out the teaching of applied and pure modules and whilst it seems from a lot of my students that this is still the case, teachers are going to find it difficult later in the year when practising exam-style questions as many of them contain concepts from both disciplines. Teachers therefore can't always rely on separate teaching from now on.
Decision Maths is removed as an option for A level
Often taken by students as a back-up and useful more for business degrees given the inclusion of Gant Charts, it seems Decision Maths has now gracefully bowed out of the A Level Maths. Again, this removal of content might come as a sad day for a lot of mathematicians loving the variety, but I think overall it is a good decision for two reasons. Firstly, teachers will spread themselves less thinly across content and secondly, students will feel less pressured to 'choose the right option' for their university degree.
Large data set in statistics
If you haven't heard yet of the large data set then brace yourself. This is one of the biggest changes in the new A Level and it tests something new from students which I think is long over-due. The premise is that students and teachers will be given a large data set during the first year and will be asked to manipulate and study it during the years in order to answer detailed questions in the final exams. Think of the data set like a Shakespeare play for an A Level English student. Students will have to know it well enough to be able to analyse it and make conclusions based on new questions answered in the exam. This data set scares a lot of teachers we have spoken to but don't worry. We will be providing teaching tips and homework tips throughout the year which will ensure you have all you need at your fingertips for your class to succeed.
We will soon be posting about the new data set mentioned so watch this space - more advice and research to follow!
If this has been useful or if you have any comments on this blog, do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.