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Copies of OCR’s newly accredited Maths GCSE specification will be leaving the despatch centre today, making their way out to schools across the country for arrival early next week. The despatch will contain a free, well-structured specification and a set of sample assessment materials, including mark schemes for both tiers of the new GCSE (9-1) Maths.
The new Maths qualification, which is ready for teaching from September 2015, features more open-ended questions, less rote-learning and more problem-solving questions that are less structured. It is also teachable across a whole range of abilities.
A key difference teachers will really enjoy is the fact that there is more problem solving using real-world challenges. For example, working forward from the way the Ancient Egyptians worked out angles to build pyramids or calculating the height of a far-away object by comparing it to a ruler held close-up. Previous GCSEs were less applied and would mean simply working out Pythagoras' theorem by looking at a triangle.
Another change is that pupils will need to be able to draw on different branches of Maths to reach an answer. This invites pupils to think more laterally, which is more satisfying to teach and more satisfying to study. Teachers will also feel that the new GCSE gives them more freedom, as it puts the process of teaching and learning first, with the exam only an outcome that does not drive the learning.
In addition, the specification is more clearly -signposted, making teachers' lives easier. Neil Ogden, OCR's Subject Specialist leading the new GCSE development explained: "We've purposefully laid out the content in separate stages of learning, with a key 'Initial Learning' column included in our specification, showing teachers the 'building blocks' of the content and how they can start teaching these areas early, such as from Year 9."
Other new features of the GCSE (9-1) maths qualification include:
- 100 marks per paper, giving us a large scope for awarding more method marks within questions. This means candidates can be better rewarded for each correct step on the way towards an answer.
- A mathematical formula provided in each question when relevant, rather than on a formulae sheet at the front of the paper.
You don’t have to wait for the hard copy of OCR’s new maths specification. You can view it online at www.ocr.org.uk/gcsemaths, alongside sample assessment materials and an ever growing selection of resources. Further information on all of our accredited and draft specifications is also available from our website.
CPD courses to support the teaching of OCR’s new specifications are also available around the country.