Monday, January 12, 2009

Math minus Algebra = A grade

From the U.K.

School league tables to be published this week are set to be overshadowed by claims that pupils are awarded high grades in the subject despite missing out vital topics.

Changes to the maths GCSE introduced last summer have allowed pupils to gain good grades by answering easier questions, avoiding more challenging areas like algebra.

As schools are judged on how many pupils achieve five good GCSEs, including maths and English, any improvement in maths will push more schools up the rankings, allowing the Government to claim standards are rising. But the headline figures mask a dumbing-down of the exam, according to critics.

Roger Porkess, the chief executive of Mathematics in Education and Industry, an independent curriculum development body which works with hundreds of schools, said: "You can get an A* by doing very little algebra now, and there is very little challenge at the top end. There is an awful lot of fear that the new exam is going to lead to people not being prepared to go on to do A-level."

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