'Diving tariff' will keep flexibility

18th April 1997 at 01:00
Critics of the so-called "diving tariff" are wide of the mark on this issue ("Marking rules fail to add up", TES, April 11). The "diving tariff" is only one of a number of options which have been considered by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority and its sister bodies in Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that different combinations and choices of modules are comparable in terms of level of demand on students.

It will not discriminate against or "punish" students for taking mechanics. Combinations of pure maths with mechanics or pure maths with statistics will both guarantee access to the full range of marks at A-level.

If introduced, the "diving tariff" will only apply to students who wish to combine all three and who, in doing so, will take an easier combination of modules. Even so, such students will still be able to achieve an A grade.

The aim is to maintain the flexibility of current modular syllabuses in mathematics while ensuring that all combinations are equal in their overall rigour and demand. It is also important that the method chosen is understandable and manageable. Several approaches are still subject to detailed discussion with the boards.

GEOFF LUCAS Assistant chief executive SCAA Newcombe House 45 Notting Hill Gate London W11

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