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AS/A Level Further Mathematics Forum


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Which Awarding Body? What modules? When exams?

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MarkDawes 07 October 2009 09:26
Posts318
Joined09/04/07
Hi All,

We will have a sixth form in a couple of years time, having been an 11-16 school for 50 years.  We are currently discussing the A-level courses we will offer and need to decide:
Which awarding body to go with, which modules to offer and when it is reasonable to enter the students for particular modules.

I would appreciate hearing pros and cons of the different systems and what works well for you, please!

Thanks.
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kathrynp 07 October 2009 15:22
Posts188
Joined19/07/06

Hi Mark,

In our large Sixth Form College, we currently use AQA; C1 in January, C2 and D1 or M1 in June, C3 in January, C4 and S1, D2 or M2 in June for single mathematicians. We tried doing the application unit in January instead of C1 thinking that C1 and C2 together would reinforce each other - but it didn't work!
For Further Maths, (timetabled as two full subjects) it is C1 and C2 in January, D1, S1, M1 and FP1 in June, then C3, C4 and an application (M2, D2, or S2, depending on what the majority would benefit from - we only offer one of them) in January, with FP2, FP3 and FP4 in June.

We also offer Further Maths AS in the Upper Sixth: FP1 in January, another FP (currently FP2) and S2 in June.

These work for us!

However, the specifications are changing, not sure when, and it is unclear what the new requirements will be. I hope you don't have to teach the old spec. for one cycle and then have to change. Having personally been through several different specifications and two exam boards since Curriculum 2000, I wouldn't wish that on you or anyone!

Kathryn
PS - We're building up our GeoGebra resources for AL Maths, so just get in touch!

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MarkDawes 18 October 2009 22:20
Posts318
Joined09/04/07
Hi Kathryn,

Thanks for this - very helpful (particularly the tip about GGB!).

Anyone else do things differently?

thanks,
Mark
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stoofus 15 November 2009 15:56 - Last edited by stoofus on 15 November 2009 15:59
Posts76
Joined07/07/07
Hi Mark,

We teach the OCR(MEI) programme. Our AS students take C1,C2 and either M1 or S1. In the second year they continue to C3, C4 and either M2 or S2 respectively. We do C1 and C3 as January entries.

For Further Maths, the AS students currently take FP1, M1, M2 (and do C1 C2 S1 in the mainstream). We have a lot of flexibility with the A2s, and this year I asked the students what modules they would like. We've agreed on taking them through FP2, D1 and D2.

Other tips:
  • We subscribe to the MEI resources website (which isn't restricted to supporting just the OCR MEI scheme of things).
  • Kangaroo Maths has some thorough schemes of work for these modules, linked into Nrich and other resources on the Kangaroo Website. Although the SoWs are for Edexcel, they are quickly adapted.
It's well worth thinking about textbooks too, in my opinion. For some reason, I've just never got on well with the MEI books, but that is what we have to work with at our college. I've bought a copy of an Edexcel D1 book and much prefer teaching from that!

And finally, as Kathryn has pointed out, things are all set for a re-shuffle in a couple of years :-)

Stuart

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brunoreddy 11 November 2011 16:15
Posts12
Joined23/09/08
Hi all,

We're a small start-up school and are deciding which A-level exam boards to go with.

Can anyone share their advice on which A-level board to choose? A reputation in university admission circles for being rigorless/best is preferred. Would that be OCR(MEI)?

And also, which GCSE exam board best prepares pupils for A-level?

Thanks,

Bruno
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sandy 12 November 2011 16:55
Posts208
Joined18/07/06
Hi Bruno

An interesting premise that university admission regard different boards differently. Not really a fair system is it?

We use Edexcel - mainly because it's what we use for GCSE initially but we are happy with the content, resources available and examinations.

We regularly get students in to Oxford and Cambridge for maths or science so I guess they find it OK.

Sandy
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stoofus 12 November 2011 19:36
Posts76
Joined07/07/07
 My understanding from colleagues at other places is that the IGCSE is better preparation for A-level than the regular GCSE. In this vein, they offer the IGCSE - a year early for top set(s), followed by Additional Maths (OCR), and then AS/A-Level Maths (OCR, not MEI). I don't have direct experience with that set-up but it certainly seems a consistent approach.

Never heard anything along the lines of the university admissions debate.

Stuart
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brunoreddy 13 November 2011 12:05
Posts12
Joined23/09/08
Hi Sandy,

Thanks for this. It's good to know that Oxbridge are happy with it.

So do you think it's just folklore that universities look differently on different boards? 

Irrespective of universities' viewpoints, would you say that some boards are tougher than others? I'm looking for the toughest!

Thanks again,

Bruno
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brunoreddy 13 November 2011 12:09
Posts12
Joined23/09/08
Hi Stuart,

Many thanks. Interested in your comment about IGCSE...I'll look more into that.

Do you know anything else about OCR vs OCR MEI?

Thanks again,

Bruno
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Colleen 13 November 2011 13:14 - Last edited by Colleen on 13 November 2011 14:21
Posts213
Joined27/06/06
Bruno I teach OCR MEI and do like it. I'd say it prepares students for doing a Maths degree at least as well as any of the other boards. The comprehension paper is unique to MEI. 

Our double Maths students end up with C1 C2 C3 C4 FP1 FP2
and 1 & 2 in the applied units  M1 M2  S1 S2 D1 D2

I know that students who have done MEI Maths and Further Maths have found it a very good basis for the first year of their degree courses.
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