The GCSE Maths specification is due for radical changes starting from September 2010. To date we have seen the Edexcel Linear, Edexcel Modular, and AQA modular maths specifications approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA). In practice, what kind of changes can we expect?
According to GCSE examiner Chris Pearce, there will be very little change in the subject content, so teachers will feel reassured to know that they are teaching familiar topics. What he does see is a greater emphasis on process skills.
"Look, for example, at the new level descriptors for grade C and grade F and you will see the change of emphasis. Can pupils look at a real life situation or problem and choose appropriate mathematics to tackle it? Can they explain what they have found and relate it to the original problem? For us as teachers it means we should be thinking of applications of the mathematics we are teaching, sharing these with pupils and using them as part of our teaching." (Chris Pearce, Collins Education October Maths Newsletter).
In summary, there will be a greater focus on applying mathematics and problem solving. Also, we will see the introduction of functional maths. Whether it's the Edexcel gcse maths specification or the AQA gcse maths specification, teachers will be looking for maths textbooks which are well matched to the new maths gcse.
Further, many teachers will look for extra support - both to save time preparing for the 2010 gcse maths specification changes, and to be confident of covering the required functional and problem solving skills.
Where can you find FREE support?
For many teachers, the first thing to look at is the new sample papers. How different do they look? What does assessment of the new assessment objectives look like in practice?
You can read the individual specifications and find sample papers at the links below:
Edexcel A Maths - http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gcse/gcse10/maths/maths-a/Pages/default.aspx
Edexcel B Maths - http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gcse/gcse10/maths/maths-b/Pages/default.aspx
Another great way to get prepared is by reading up on articles by examiners like Chris Pearce. Examiner articles are often commissioned by publishers or exam boards, and can offer help on:
1) Typical questions teacher's have about the new exam specifications and answers to them.
2) How to explain the new mark schemes to your students.
3) Best practice for teaching the new problem solving questions.
Best of all, these resources can all be 100% free if you know where to find them.
All the best!
Get the latest FREE support on the GCSE maths specification 2010, including articles by teachers and examiners like Chris Pearce. Or buy discount gcse maths textbooks online - tailored to the new GCSE maths specification, and get 10% off your first purchase!