Too many GCSE maths additions

31st March 2006 at 01:00
It is right that coursework for mathematics GCSE is now very unpopular amongst teachers ("Maths coursework may be abolished", TES, March 17).

However, this is mainly due to the fairly recently introduced data handling task that has unrealistic requirements for high-order evaluation skills and no reward for applications of techniques. This, added to an overburdened intermediate-level tier, made thorough teaching impossible.

Interestingly, a similar burden is due to be added to the higher tier by changing to a two-tier GCSE. Needing to cover number topics pitched at grade D may not appear too demanding but could have the damaging effect of downplaying algebra skills, recently and rightly upgraded in GCSE revisions.

Don Steward

Head of mathsWilliam Brookes schoolMuch Wenlock, Shropshire

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