Monday, 7 December 2015

Making maths work for students, Employers and Governments

Delivering the entire course of GCSE Maths in 33 weeks and expecting learners to pass is laughable. FE simply does not have the teachers, resources, time or frankly, the ability to achieve this level of magic.

I’d like to see a new approach to maths resits in FE Colleges. I suspect that I’m not alone and that many others would too.

I’d like to propose a new qualification; a modular one, shared between Schools and FE.

Students could start in Year 9 in Schools. Firstly, mix together GCSE and Functional Skills. Secondly, break it up into modules; 3 in Year 9, 3 in Year 10 and the final 3 in Year 11. The Higher component could be a tenth module to demonstrate higher learning. This isn’t impossible to deliver in schools through additional teaching, nor would it be impossible in FE.

Year 9: Start with the basics and build a mathematical foundation.
Year 10: Start to apply (Functional Maths) the knowledge to situations where maths is needed,
Year 11: Harder concepts and greater depth of application and understanding.

Each module graded A – E
Overall score to be graded A – E.

Modules that are not passed to C grade or above, to be resat in FE. Only those modules, not the whole course.

Exams to be held three times a year; November, February and May. This enables learners to be removed from classes and those who are truly struggling, to be given more tuition and greater attention.

When students enter FE, their modules are considered and any that are not achieved can be relearned, with serious subject contextualisation, and resat.

When all nine modules are passed, the learner has achieved a Foundation grade. If they are able, or willing to take the tenth module, they can do so in specialised classes.

This would spread the load of learning Maths between Schools, who obviously have a real problem delivering GCSE Maths to the required level and FE Colleges who are overloaded with resits of the entire course. 

Students who are able, would still leave school with the grades required, through taking the tenth and most difficult module.

Is this approach returning to the bad old days of multitudinous resits to achieve the grade? No, there would be one resit per module. By enabling the learners to take the modules they need, not the whole course, which is demoralising and destabilizing, we would be able to focus our attention on those learners and those aspects of the course which apply to them.

Teaching the whole GCSE maths course over and over again, is like hitting them with a lump hammer. By focusing on the areas they need and developing their skills in those areas, we are delivering truly personalised learning and learners who have the maths skills needed to be effective and  useful employees. 

To me, it makes sense. What do you think?

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