A Level Results Day

Thursday 17 August 2006 at 4:08 pm | In Articles | 2 Comments
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The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the body in charge of exams in the UK, is running a newspaper ad to show that A levels are not getting easier. They do this by reproducing exam questions. And which gets the greatest prominence by far? You guessed it – an A level maths question. This is because everyone “knows” that maths is hard and only the brightest people take it. Sigh!


QCA A level advert
         The question just asks you to find the x-coordinate of the minimum point of [Unparseable or potentially dangerous latex formula. Error 6 ] using an iterative solution of f^{\prime}(x)=0.
Of course it holds your hand through the question, as is the fashion these days as I have mentioned before.

There is some good news. The BBC report Maths resurgence follows changes says that the number of students taking A level mathematics is increasing, though sadly still at a low level. The article also says: “Another encouraging feature of the figures is that girls significantly outnumber boys among the new students.” which certainly agrees with my experience as you’ll see from the photo. The results for the pictured students were excellent – congratulations to all of them.

2 Comments »

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  1. Hi, I don’t know in what way that is hard?
    It’s always the same old crap, but yet our 18 year olds still don’t compare with French students, North Koreans, Scandinavians… who may I say: take more subjects than us. Yet they are much better trained in Mathematical techniques and mathematical thought (much more than we are).

    Perhaps I should compile some pure mathematical questions from pre-university exams from round the world and humuliate the British Alevels.

    Comment by Aaron — Thursday 31 August 2006 7:09 pm #

  2. Perhaps I should compile some pure mathematical questions from pre-university exams from round the world and humuliate the British Alevels.

    That sounds like an excellent idea

    Comment by Steve — Thursday 31 August 2006 7:31 pm #

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