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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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brunoreddy 13 November 2011 14:15
Thanks Colleen.

That's exactly what I'm after. They sound more rigorous but with enough papers to give candidates lots of options.

As a follow-on, would you say there's much between the GCSE exams in terms of preparing them for A-level?

How would rank these 4 GCSE boards (OCR, AQA, Edexcel and WJEC) perhaps on the basis of difficulty of the linear course or support and resources from the exam board?

Our eldest pupils are currently in year 9 so it's not long before the decisions I make will have an impact.


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Colleen 13 November 2011 14:29
Bruno I don't know enough about some of those boards to rank them. I am sure you could do any of them and still teach the students well!

At the moment we are happy with the AQA Modular GCSE, I like the new specification, the questions particularly on Unit 2 are more of a test of mathematical ability. The supporting website is excellent. I know Edexcel also provide much support.

Certainly our (high ability) students happily transfer from AQA GCSE to the MEI A Level course.

Now I know people argue over linear and modular, I think too many sweeping generalisations are made on both! 
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mwarden 13 November 2011 15:50

At our school (90 Maths year 12, 60 Maths year 13) we have quite a range of abilities.
For our Maths A Level, we study Edexcel. We find it is accessible for all abilities, but we find we have to extend the higher end ourselves.  Many of our students go on to good universities to study Maths. Oxford, Cambridge and Warwick tend to use their own tests anyway, so which A Level course you use doesn't really matter. The other universities son't seem to have a preference (publicly, anyway(.

The units we study for Maths A Level are:
Year 12 - C1 Jan, C2 Jan, S1 Jun.
Year 13 - C3 Jan, C4 Jan, M1 Jun.

Further Maths runs as a completely separate option so has to run alongside the single A level. This means S1 and S2 are taught simultaneously as are M1 and M2. It doesn't seem to be a problem, but you have to be careful of the order in which it is taught. 

The units we study for Further Maths are:
Year 12 - D1 Jan, FP1 Jun, S2 Jun
Year 13 - FP2 Jun, FP3 Jun, M2 Jun.

All year 13 FM modules are in June because much of the FP2 and FP3 content depends on the C4 content in the single A level. 

We have quite a few students who like to study modules independently, so D2, M3-M5 and S3 and S4 can be used for this to gain an extra AS or A Level in Additional Further Maths. Not many go ahead to get a qualification, they just like to know the extra content.

For GCSE we had been doing OCR graduated assessment whose final Module 10 was perfect preparation for AS C1. Unfortunately this has gone now, so we are teaching the same structure, but with OCR linear (B) instead. For our top sets we are also starting the AQA Further Maths IGCSE for first exams in it next year. We are running this as an extra GCSE, not instead of, so they will be sitting both exams.

Hope this helps
Tilly Warden

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brunoreddy 13 November 2011 16:22
Thanks. It's good to know AQA leads on to MEI without difficulty.

I like your various websites by the way. Just spent hours trawling the various links that shoot off from your posts!
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brunoreddy 13 November 2011 16:29
Most helpful, thank you Tilly! Hearing how you've ordered the modules is useful, as is the bit about IGCSEs.

You've prompted some more research for me to do and that's a valid point about the STEP exams for Oxbridge and Warwick.

Found this page, by the way, which may be helpful for others wanting to compare:

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Colleen 13 November 2011 16:54
Thank you for the comment re my websites Bruno!

We are doing the AQA IGCSE Further Maths as well - for one of our accelerated sets in Year 11.

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tombutton 16 November 2011 17:37
Just wanted to add a few comments on here about the support available from the Further Mathematics Support Programme.

All schools/colleges that are registered receive access to the Integral resources for the Further Pure and Applied modules.  These are tailored to each specification and (with the exception of M4 and S4) are available for every module.

One of the biggest decisions is whether to offer FM in series (i.e. A level Maths in year 12 followed by A level FM in year 13) or parallel (AS Maths and FM in year 12 followed by A2 Maths and FM in year 13).  All specifications offer the possibility of doing FM in parallel and one advantage of this is that it opens-up the subject to students who wish to pick-up AS Further Maths in year 13.  My experience of such students is that they are very well motivated and usually perform very well.

The tuition from FMSP usually involves students taking FP1 over year 12 alongside 2 other applied modules, 1 in each term.  This is followed in year 13 with FP2 over the year and 2 othe applied modules (or often FP3), 1 in each term.  Many schools/colleges use this model too. There's also some case studies on the FMSP site at http://www.furthermaths.org.uk/teacher_area/fmspcasestudies.php which might be useful.

There is a range of professional development available.  For face-to-face PD in your region please contact your local FMSP Area Coordinator: http://www.furthermaths.org.uk/centre/AC_contacts.php  We've also got a full range of Live Online Professional Development courses that you can take in the evenings: http://www.furthermaths.org.uk/teacher_area/rpd.php

This year we've also been running Live Interactive Lectures for FM: http://www.furthermaths.org.uk/lilfm.php.  These are a series of fortnightly sessions that can be used if you are delivering FM on a limited time allocation.
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sallyb 14 May 2012 16:10 - Last edited by sallyb on 14 May 2012 22:27
Anyone wanting to enliven their A level teaching might like to consider the NANAMIC 
Annual Conference and CPD Workshops. 
(Wednesday 4th July 2012, 10:00 – 16:00 at St Mary’s Conference Centre, Bramall Lane, Sheffield, S2 4QZ - cost members £130 non-members £150)
Sessions include
Energising A-level teaching – Bryony Black, Sheffield University
Decision and discrete maths – Louise Orpin, The OR Society

For more details see https://www.ncetm.org.uk/cpd/28249
or the Nanamic website http://www.nanamic.org.uk/conferences.htm
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