Changes toned down

15th June 2007 at 01:00
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has toned down plans for radical changes to the way maths and further maths A-levels are graded after protests from teachers.

At present, students gain a separate grade for each of the two qualifications. Under its proposals, which could have been introduced as soon as next year, these would have been combined, if the student took further maths, to produce an overall grade covering performance across all papers.

Last month, The TES reported that critics including Mathematics in Education and Industry, a curriculum development body, and the Mathematical Association, warned that this could spell the death of further maths.

Students, they said, would not take the harder exam for fear of damaging their marks on the easier A-level.

The authority has now published a position paper in which it accepts that its plans could have discouraged sixth-formers from taking further maths. A compromise will be sought, which will award maths and further maths as separate subjects but incorporate some features of the original proposal.

The QCA hopes to reach an agreement with the maths community this year.

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