Group work

CalculatorTo be fair, successive governments have been pretty successful in raising the profile and importance of Maths as an A Level and it is the most popular A-Level with circa 11% of 2015 entries being A Level Maths.

But this is not without its problems – as pupils and parents recognise the value of Maths A-Level some students opt to take it who, perhaps, shouldn’t. It has gained & retained its status as the gold standard of post-sixteen qualifications as it is hard, and not everyone can do it.

Which makes it all the more important that, early in the lower sixth, we “weed out” those that are going to struggle with the subject beyond GCSE.

A colleague had identified a student in her class who had elected to do maths, despite only scrapping a B at GCSE and was already floundering in the first few weeks of term. Keen to get some assessment data, she set her class some work to do in small groups of three or four. We’ll call our student “Tom”, because that is not his name.

Having observed the students undertaking the task, she then spoke to her pupils individually to ascertain their own role in the group work.

On asking Tom what his contribution to the task had been he answered, with complete honesty and a little pride:

“I lent them my calculator”

Thankfully, a few days later, Tom himself came to the conclusion that maths wasn’t for him and he has now enrolled on an A Level course more suited to his skills and talents.

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