Maths staff face more changes

6th October 2006 at 01:00
GCSE maths teachers face years of change following the latest coursework decisions from the QCA.

From next year, maths will be exams-only, after two surveys found teachers strongly opposed coursework in its current form.

Staff have complained that assignments in the subject are formulaic, as pupils complete routine work in handling data and in using and applying maths.

Some 68 per cent of 1,158 teachers, consulted on the issue over the internet this spring, said coursework should be scrapped. A separate survey of pupils found them more divided on the issue. But 71 per cent of the 2,275 polled believed exams were better than coursework for finding out what they know.

Although the coursework move will be accepted by many teachers, there is widespread frustration about the amount of change facing the subject.

Only last month, the GCSE was changed from a three- to a two-tier exam, in order to give all pupils the chance of achieving at least a C.

In 2009, new functional skills tests, which pupils must pass in order to gain a C, will be launched.

And, also in 2009, the subject is to be split in two with the introduction of a further maths GCSE alongside the conventional one.

Doug French, president of the Mathematical Association, said: "We welcome the announcement that coursework is being abandoned.

"But there is too much change happening consecutively rather than planning in a coherent way for the future of the subject. Constant change is very difficult to deal with for teachers."

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