You don’t need a crystal ball to predict that for now at least, the ideas of modular exams, multiple resits, tiered examinations and teacher assessed coursework are on their way out of the popularity stakes as far as the politicians are concerned. Whilst the recall of the O-Level has stalled, there seems little doubt that ‘terminal’, summer exams are on their way in the form of the new E-Bacc Certificates, which will have only one exam board in charge of each qualification.
The Mathematics qualification will most likely be one of the first through the starting gates and schools are already beginning to plan for the changes due. But even with the speed of changes already implemented by the incumbent coalition government, these are significant changes and they will take years to put in place.
For now, students are still able to take modular examinations (and resit linear mathematics exams) in November and March, as well as the usual June slot. This perceived luxury will not be available for long and to make the best use of these opportunities, one needs to make sure that one revises carefully and works hard in preparation. iTutorMaths have worked hard to design online support and revision sessions that are exam board specific and that are tailored to the modular and linear examinations on offer in November and March, so sign up now before it is all over!
Mathman has had a wonderful summer holiday – three weeks on the Pembrokeshire coastline matched with quite a large proportion of sunshine, and lots of fun with Mrs Mathman and the Mathlets has done a power of good. How does that time speed up so fast when you are having such fun? Six long weeks seem to stretch out before you as you break up at the end of July. Blink. And it is September. Wooaaaaah! Where did that go?
And so we find that mild sense of panic start to build as we realise how much preparation we need to put in place in order to get off to that ‘perfect’ start at the beginning of term. Teachers across the land will be dusting off those text books and powerpoints and writing plans, and thinking about their new groups. And all too soon we are off again. The train crash of the start of term hits and the pandemonium of a teacher’s life explodes.
And as for our students. Well Mathman hopes that they too have had a relaxing and re-energising break. They deserve it. They worked their socks off all last year, through to exams, and even after that. There is a lot written (some of it backed by quality research) about how the six week summer break is bad for learning, how the students regress somehow, and how much learning is lost because of it. Yes they need to oil the old brain cogs and get back up to speed as they say. And a conscientious instructor might suggest that a little holiday work, or the odd summer essay might keep the cogs turning.
But Mathman is convinced that an awful lot of good comes from six weeks of ‘rest’ for our young people. Many of the next generation make a good effort to use their holiday time ‘constructively’ (for example going on treks through the Himalayas) and the life skills learned in these endeavours more than outweigh the minor academic back pedal.
So, to the students of next term, Mathman says: “Well done, you’ve worked really hard, keep resting for as long as you can, and see you on Tuesday.” ”Oh, and please bring a pen and a blazer that fits.”
Firstly, make sure that you get in touch with the college or employer and explain the situation. You must at least try to persuade them to give you a chance, and a personal phone call is much more effective than an email. If there are extenuating circumstances or a particularly compelling reason (that was out of your control) that lead to lower grades than expected then explain this quickly and clearly.
A distinction is often made between people who have an interest in maths and the sciences and those who have an interest in the arts. Society can sometimes expect individuals to only be concerned with one of these areas, but mathematics and arts are often much more related than one may think. By taking a look at Shakespeare’s sonnets we’ll see how maths can add beauty and structure to poetry, and help us think logically about art.