### Abstract

Original language | English |
---|---|

Title of host publication | Proceedings of the 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar on Mathematical Education of Engineers |

Editors | Burkhard Alpers, Michael Carr, Marie Demlova, Tommy Gustafsson, Duncan Lawson, Brita Olsson-Lehtonen, Carol Robinson, Paul Robinson, Daniela Velichova |

Place of Publication | Dublin, Republic of Ireland |

Number of pages | 6 |

ISBN (Electronic) | 978-2-87352-011-3 |

Publication status | Published - Jun 2014 |

Event | 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar - Dublin, Ireland Duration: 23 Jun 2014 → 25 Jun 2014 |

### Conference

Conference | 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar |
---|---|

Country | Ireland |

City | Dublin |

Period | 23/06/2014 → 25/06/2014 |

### Fingerprint

### Keywords

- A-level
- mathematics
- grading
- module choice

### Cite this

*Proceedings of the 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar on Mathematical Education of Engineers*Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

}

*Proceedings of the 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar on Mathematical Education of Engineers.*Dublin, Republic of Ireland, 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar, Dublin, Ireland, 23/06/2014.

**Interpreting A-level Mathematics grades – as easy as A, B, C?** / Cole, Jonathan.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Conference contribution

TY - GEN

T1 - Interpreting A-level Mathematics grades – as easy as A, B, C?

AU - Cole, Jonathan

PY - 2014/6

Y1 - 2014/6

N2 - Many concerns have been expressed that students’ basic mathematical skills have deteriorated during the 1990s and there has been disquiet that current A-level grading does not distinguish adequately between the more able students. This study reports the author’s experiences of teaching maths to large classes of first-year engineering students and aims to enhance understanding of levels of mathematical competence in more recent years. Over the last four years, the classes have consisted of a very large proportion of highly qualified students – about 91% of them had at least grade B in A-level Mathematics. With a small group of students having followed a non-traditional route to university (no A-level maths) and another group having benefitted through taking A-level Further Mathematics at school, the classes have contained a very wide range of mathematical backgrounds. Despite the introductory maths course at university involving mainly repetition of A-level material, students’ marks were spread over a very wide range – for example, A-level Mathematics grade B students have scored across the range 16 – 97%. Analytical integration is the topic which produced the largest variation in performance across the class but, in contrast, the A-level students generally performed well in differentiation. Initial analysis suggests some stability in recent years in the mathematical proficiency of students with a particular A-level Mathematics grade. Allowing choice of applied maths modules as part of the A-level maths qualification increases the variety of students’ mathematical backgrounds and their selection from mechanics, statistics or decision maths is not clear from the final qualification.

AB - Many concerns have been expressed that students’ basic mathematical skills have deteriorated during the 1990s and there has been disquiet that current A-level grading does not distinguish adequately between the more able students. This study reports the author’s experiences of teaching maths to large classes of first-year engineering students and aims to enhance understanding of levels of mathematical competence in more recent years. Over the last four years, the classes have consisted of a very large proportion of highly qualified students – about 91% of them had at least grade B in A-level Mathematics. With a small group of students having followed a non-traditional route to university (no A-level maths) and another group having benefitted through taking A-level Further Mathematics at school, the classes have contained a very wide range of mathematical backgrounds. Despite the introductory maths course at university involving mainly repetition of A-level material, students’ marks were spread over a very wide range – for example, A-level Mathematics grade B students have scored across the range 16 – 97%. Analytical integration is the topic which produced the largest variation in performance across the class but, in contrast, the A-level students generally performed well in differentiation. Initial analysis suggests some stability in recent years in the mathematical proficiency of students with a particular A-level Mathematics grade. Allowing choice of applied maths modules as part of the A-level maths qualification increases the variety of students’ mathematical backgrounds and their selection from mechanics, statistics or decision maths is not clear from the final qualification.

KW - A-level

KW - mathematics

KW - grading

KW - module choice

M3 - Conference contribution

BT - Proceedings of the 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar on Mathematical Education of Engineers

A2 - Alpers, Burkhard

A2 - Carr, Michael

A2 - Demlova, Marie

A2 - Gustafsson, Tommy

A2 - Lawson, Duncan

A2 - Olsson-Lehtonen, Brita

A2 - Robinson, Carol

A2 - Robinson, Paul

A2 - Velichova, Daniela

CY - Dublin, Republic of Ireland

ER -