Although the current A level specification has been here for several years now, the fact that there has only been one typical cohort to sit an exam series means that it still feels very new.
Last term, we ran several AMSP Teacher Network meetings in the South West region where we reflected on the 2021 A level Mathematics papers and identified common themes from the examiners’ reports. Although the 2021 cohort was very small, many of the comments from the report echoed those from other sittings of the current specification. Feedback from the teachers who attended was that, as well as discussing comments from the examiners’ reports, it was also useful to see a selection of nice or interesting questions from other awarding organisations that they might use in their teaching – I’ve used some already with my own classes!
Some of the common themes we identified as issues are below:
- Language and notation – for example, use of set notation.
- Effective use of calculators – finding the balance between when to use the calculator and when to show full working.
- Linking topics – there were some lovely (in my opinion!) questions, including one linking trigonometric addition angle formulae with manipulating surds.
- Proof and reasoning – showing sufficient working for ‘show that…’ questions.
- Modelling – particularly in the pure part of the course.
To read the full examiners’ reports, please access them from your awarding organisation.
For more advice on how you might use your exam boards reports to further develop curriculum and teaching, please contact your local Area Coordinator.