The TES is reporting that more than a decade of growth in A-level maths entries is threatened by government exam reforms that risk shattering students’ confidence in the subject.
The final report of the Rethinking the Value of Advanced Mathematics Participation (Revamp) study raises concerns about the impact of a new, tougher maths GCSE and new grading system, as well as the decoupling of A and AS levels.
Co-author Andrew Noyes, head of the School of Education at the University of Nottingham, said that there was “a possibility of a perfect storm”.
“When you change everything all at the same time you run the risk of unintended consequences,” he added.
Professor Noyes warned that the changes were likely to particularly affect girls – who are already less likely to take maths post-16 – despite pledges from the government to do more to encourage continued study of the subject.
“The issue is more one of perception,” said Professor Noyes. “If you get a 7, you are two grades off the top grade. I think the psychological impact will be students thinking that they are not as good at maths because they are two grades off the top.”
Do you think the changes to the maths GCSE will be detrimental to the number of female students taking up the subject? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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