Sixth Form Pure | | DJS

Sixth Form Pure

You may find what you are looking for in the Year Eight material: just because you could have studied that work then doesn’t mean to say that you did!  For those whose second language is English, I recommend the early material so that you have a chance to use difficult English with maths you probably understand quite easily. 



I used to write this on the board at some point at the start and end of the year. In classrooms where I had board to spare, it might stay up for several weeks at a time. I saw one student copy it onto the cover of a workfile — a better site and sight altogether. 

The step from Higher GCSE to AS seems large, but is not as severe as the jump in presumption that occurs a year later. Or, indeed, the one after that. Part of the problem is that so little of Y11 brought anything new. The GCSE in Maths is large (wide and deep); the assumption at AS is that so much of the GCSE is suddenly not examined but assumed to be competent. 

For example, there are marks at AS for setting up a pair of simultaneous equations, but the marking shows an assumption that this can be solved reliably (which is why you should do a check). At A2 level it is just assumed that the solution will be correct — often no method marks at all. There is an argument made on other pages on this site that AS is the more important, simply because it keeps open opportunities (like predicted grades and so who it is you can apply to). The jump in standard for A2 occurs for several reasons. Those include (i) that there is a presumption that some people have stopped at AS level (ii) that you are being prepared for university, so texts are harder, the presumption that you can work on your own rises, the degree to which you are expected to organise your own study (and to direct it) is far more down to you. [Your teachers are not lazy, they are trying to make you independent learners] (iii) Some people genuinely reach a limit of tolerance for a subject, and do actually find the work difficult; some people find the total volume of work is the problem; some people find that the demands made by the rest of their lives gets in the way of study (the opposite sex, high level sport, etc) — and they either deal with that or settle for a lower academic standard altogether. 

Personally, I didn’t find the sixth form hard. I found it interesting and challenging; I was juggling many activities around being the only student with a fourth A-level – but it wasn’t difficult. I have seen many students who would disagree with me, but far more simply lost, if they had ever had it, the motivation to work towards a target. These are the people one saw in the Library with clearly nothing to do (or nothing they were prepared to spend time on) and for whom school was itself a problem – they had, in their minds, outgrown what was on offer. I see that as a failure of education as much as an individual one. But we don’t spend enough time asking and answering questions such as “Why am I here?” when being badgered continually for output. Which is a pity, really.

DJS 20171101

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