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Secondary Magazine - Issue 122 Heads Up

Created on 29 May 2015 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 23 June 2015 by ncetm_administrator


Secondary Magazine Issue 122'Newspapers B&W (2)' by NS Newsflash (adapted), some rights reserved

Heads Up

Whilst not wanting to define this article as mathematical gossip, it does come close! We’ve brought together news and current mathematical affairs, all in one place. We do hope it will interest you.

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On 21 May, Ofqual released the long-awaited and much anticipated conclusions of their review into specimen GCSE assessment materials, and the headline is that all four awarding bodies have significant work to do. Three out of four Awarding Bodies were told to make some of their papers easier, and one was told to increase the level of difficulty. The video on this Ofqual page gives a helpful summary. Not surprisingly, there has been much counter-balancing comment (of varying quality and value, it must be said) by maths education bloggers and tweeters.

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How many NQTs leave the profession within their first year? A misunderstood ATL report has led to the media claim that it is nearly 40 per cent. If true this would be shocking, but the consistently rigorous More or Less programme on BBC Radio 4 unpicked the claim in this recent episode and found it to be incorrect – leading, surprisingly, to a retraction of the claim from the Independent. If you (or your pupils) haven’t heard this programme before, you might like to try. It’s always an excellent mix of thought-provoking items based on data that have been cited in the media…so often wrongly!

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In a new blog post by the NCETM’s Director, Charlie Stripp shares his thinking on the philosophy of teaching for mastery in secondary maths. There is also a new area of the NCETM’s website, which pulls together all our work, and thinking, in this rich and exciting area

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There are some interesting and thought-provoking findings on the issue of GCSE maths (and English) resits at FE colleges in some new research from ACER (the Association of Colleges in the Eastern Region) on behalf of the DfE.

The link contains Case Studies and an extensive resource guide for tutors focusing upon GCSE resits for post-16 students. It highlights a range of tried and tested approaches, highlights the very best practice going on at a college near you, and points you in the direction of the best revision resources. BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on 2 June covered this issue; you can listen again here (at about 1h 47).

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FRESH is a family of courses specifically designed for experienced teachers of mathematics by Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI). It is MEI’s response to such teachers’ requests for short and refreshing professional development in specific areas of secondary mathematics teaching. Apply for current courses via the MEI website.

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The brilliant American mathematician and economist John Nash died on 23 May in a tragic accident. He was a winner both of a Nobel Prize and an Abel Prize (the maths equivalent of the Nobel Prize, which interestingly isn’t awarded for mathematics). You can read his fascinating story on the Guardian website.

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New statistics from the Campaign for Science and Engineering, which encourages girls to study Maths and Physics for A level, sets out the challenge: in A level Maths there are seven girls to every ten boys, and in Further Maths there are only four girls to every ten boys. Ofsted are now publishing national statistics on gender imbalance, and so this issue will increasingly have paid to it the attention it needs if it is to be addressed. Research into tackling the imbalance has been undertaken by the Further Maths Support Programme.

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#slowmathchat is gathering momentum on Twitter. Devised and hosted by reasonandwonder.com, it differs from most other webchats in that there is no specific time - it gathers ideas and momentum across the week, with coding to identify what the questions have been, and the answers (so far) that have been posted.

How does #slowmathchat work?

  • Every Sunday at 5pm (Pacific Standard Time, GMT -8hrs), the topic for the week is posted on reasonandwonder.com and shared on Twitter
  • There are five questions, one for each day (Monday to Friday)
  • The daily question is posted on Twitter at 7 am and 7 pm (Eastern Standard Time, GMT -5hrs)
  • At the end of each week, an archive of the conversation is posted on reasonandwonder.com and shared on Twitter.

Participation, therefore, is not time zone dependent, and so you have no story time/dinner time/gym time/Game of Thrones time excuse not to join in!

Image credit
Page header by NS Newsflash (adapted), some rights reserved



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