A full year for some

21st January 2000 at 00:00
HODDER MATHEMATICS: GCSE in a year. Edited by Roger PorkessHodder amp; Stoughton pound;14.99.

Hodder Mathematics by authors of the MEI courses aims to provide a one-year course for mature students leading to GCSE at Intermediate level. Such students vary enormously in terms of motivation, but many have had poor experiences of studying maths in the past.

A textbook such as this needs to provide clear explanations of difficult concepts and help in countering common misconceptions. On the other hand, the need to cover a lot of material in a short time requires terse explanation and may limit the opportunity to provide full explanation or to allow students to discover new understanding for themselves.

The presentation in Hodder Mathematics leans much more towards the terse explanation, although there are some discussion points on each page of explanation. The material is presented in 32 chapters, grouped under the four themes: Number; Algebra; Shape; Space and Measures; and Handling Data. Exercises n each double page provide practice of the key ideas. Each exercise becomes progressively more challenging and many end with a more open-ended problem or investigation.

The layout of the pages is a little cluttered, but reasonably clear. However, each page is similar in appearance to the others, and I found it difficult to find my way around the book. The heading on each page gives the title of the chapter but not the chapter number.

This book provides a level of explanation that some mature students will find satisfactory, but others will find limited.

To be most effective, the text requires the active participation of a teacher to generate worthwhile class discussion around the explanations and discussion points, before moving on to the exercises.

If a class needs a text for one-year mature students, then this is worth looking at, but I didn't find anything new here.

Peter Johnston-Wilder is a senior lecturer in mathematics education at De Montfort University, Bedford


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