A statistical solution

5th September 2003 at 01:00
As a teacher of both maths GCSE and A-level and a moderator of maths GCSE coursework, I feel that the analytical skills expected in the new statistics coursework is beyond the ability of most 15 and 16-year-olds.

Furthermore, there is considerable overlap between the statistics element in the maths and the statistics GCSEs - to the extent that at a recent presentation by the AQA exam board it was suggested that with just one extra lesson a week students could do both exams!

The obvious solution is to remove the statistics element entirely from the maths and create two separate exams. Students could then choose to postpone their study of statistics until A-level, when they would have the maturity to give the concepts a more thorough analysis.

More time in Year 11 could then be allocated to algebra and geometry, thus assisting the transition from GCSE to A-level that currently puts off so many.

And while we are at it, could we not end the three tiers of maths GCSE? Why should there be an exam where one cannot achieve a level C, i.e. an exam which one can only "fail"?

Vicky Kennard 22 Park St, Salford, Manchester

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