Our AS and A Level Maths specifications were accredited back in January, so it is a good moment to answer a particular question that we have been getting in a lot of meetings with teachers.
Mechanics and statistics are both applied mathematics options, but they apply the mathematics in different ways. It is easier to move from thinking about Pure Mathematics to either of the applications than it is to move between those applications.
In an assessment covering both mechanics and statistics there is a big “gear-change” in the middle of the paper between modes of thinking and working which can be challenging under exam conditions, particularly for weaker students. Assessing both statistics and mechanics in one paper, along with the associated assumed knowledge, requires learners to prepare the entire course for that one exam. This and the effect of changing mode of thinking multiple times through the exam, makes this model more challenging for weaker students in particular.
Since there is not enough material in either applied area for a whole question paper, it therefore makes sense to pair each of the applied areas with some pure questions. This serves to encourage a more holistic approach to the teaching of the pure and applied strands. However, it doesn’t change the fact that you can still have one teacher delivering mechanics and one teacher delivering statistics, just as you do now. See our Teaching Order Framework for one way of splitting the topics between two teachers.
In terms of revision it also makes life much easier. Since the course is linear, the assumed knowledge for both statistics and mechanics is the full A Level pure content.
Our structure for A Level Maths A means that learners need to revise just the pure for the first exam, then add in the statistics for the second exam and finally add in the mechanics for the third exam so that the revision period is more spread out.
To support you in preparing to teach our new Mathematics and Further Mathematics qualifications, we’ve prepared a teaching order framework, an editable resource that will enable you to develop schemes of work to deliver Maths and Further Maths in parallel.
For further information, and to see our accredited Maths qualifications, visit ocr.org.uk/alevelmaths.
Planning to teach our Mathematics or Further Mathematics A Levels? Let us know so we can ensure you have everything you need.
Submit your comments below and if you have any questions then you can get in touch with us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @OCR_Maths.
During our Festival of A Level Maths we recorded a series of webinars including the following sessions on mechanics and statistics. These webinars are available to watch again:
Will Hornby - Subject Advisor - Mathematics
Will joined OCR in April 2014 as a Subject Specialist, having worked for OCR as a consultant on GCSE Maths reform and for many years before that as a senior examiner for A Level Mathematics. Will is the Subject Development Lead for AS and A Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics, with overall responsibility for the development of OCR’s new specifications, and for oversight and quality assurance of the MEI specifications.
Will has worked as a mathematics teacher, then as a private tutor and Open University lecturer. In his spare time he likes to play the Chinese strategy game Go and entertain his young children.