Double maths breeds inequality

17th November 2006 at 00:00
Tony Gardiner is right to raise concerns about the double award maths GCSE ("Exam plan does not add up", TES, November 10). We are told that the intention is for both to be based on the same content; if so, the second must assess higher levels of thinking and foster greater understanding of maths. The situation would look very different for 11-16 schools compared with 11-18 schools.

For an 11-16 school, introducing the second GCSE will involve expenditure on teaching resources and exam fees; it will not lead to improved exam results, since students are unlikely to receive a higher grade than in the first maths GCSE, and it is deemed unnecessary for further study. Why should such schools enter students?

By contrast, for an 11-18 school, the second maths GCSE is likely to be seen as a worthwhile investment, leading to improved A-level results. Such schools would, therefore, be keen to enter students.

For two students of equal ability, one having taken both maths GCSEs, the other having taken only the first, the former will have a better grounding and is more likely to gain a higher grade. Do we want to build such inequality into our education system?

The double maths GCSE could offer a wonderful opportunity to improve maths education, but it needs careful planning.

Stella Dudzic

Mathematics in Education and Industry


North Yorkshire

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now