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September 22, 2019, 09:25:15 am

Author Topic: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?  (Read 522 times)  Share 

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JR_StudyEd

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Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« on: August 08, 2019, 05:10:33 pm »
+1
This probably depends on the school and its administration, but what do you think? I'll give you a little snippet of my past experiences.

The year is 2017. I am in Year 10. Based on my maths performance in previous years (basically never got below 80-85% in a maths test), I get placed in a Pre-Methods class. In the first semester, I struggle. Never got above a 75%. Thankfully, the second semester yields better results. But during the second semester, I made the fateful decision to study Methods 1&2. It opened up more course options than Further (how naive was I back then), and my teacher said I was capable.

Fast forward to the winter of 2018, I've barely passed a Methods SAC, getting 53%. Circular functions and calculus then show me the true meaning of pain. That was when I considered dropping Methods. Just like the last year, I asked my teacher whether I would be capable of Methods 3&4, and they said yes. So I took their word for it (how dumb was I...), and kept going.

Now 2019 has arrived. In June, I experienced an overflow of despair and utter sorrow over a maths test unlike anything I've ever endured in my entire life so far. I froze up and just surrendered to that paper. Though things have improved slightly since then, I am still feeling the pressure as exams are only 3 months away. And I feel like I'm at a Unit 1 level in terms of my understanding.



With that being said, I felt like Year 7-9 Maths was a complete joke in comparison. I barely tried, but still racked up consistent 90+ results in tests. I don't know if that's just my school, but has anyone experienced anything of this nature? And what can a school do to ensure the story of my VCE maths journey is never again replicated? No disrespect to my school at all.

Yours sincerely,
A soon-to-be Year 12 Methods survivor
VCE Class of 2019
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Re: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2019, 05:37:24 pm »
0
I'm the polar opposite. From year 7 till year 10, I was never good at maths as I've always been more humanities/arts-oriented. I consistently got below 60% in maths tests, and the ONE time I did the AMC (Australian Maths Competition) I got a participation certificate lol (this was year 10).

It wasn't until I started VCE maths that I started liking the overall discipline of mathematics, and liking maths made me more motivated to work hard in it, and now I'm ranked in the top 5 for both further and methods at school.


I agree with the sentiment that year 7-10 maths is very different from VCE methods. In my case, I welcomed the change, but I'm sure it would've been a nasty shock to many others. I can only speak for myself, and it's that I only truly began liking maths when methods came along.

Please don't take this the wrong way -- there are a lot of people who are very, very capable at maths, but fail to reach their potential in VCE as they are shocked and discouraged by a sudden drop in their grades when they start methods. This happened to pretty much everyone at my school (myself included. In my first 1/2 methods SAC I got a 33%). And for many people, it could be too discouraging to get back up. I don't believe that we should blame schools for it though. I think it depends on your personal mindset.
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TigerMum

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Re: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2019, 06:19:51 pm »
0
I agree with the sentiment that year 7-10 maths is very different from VCE methods. In my case, I welcomed the change, but I'm sure it would've been a nasty shock to many others. I can only speak for myself, and it's that I only truly began liking maths when methods came along.

I feel the same (only 1/2 Methods student here), I was always good at maths, it came naturally to me, but I didn't really like it. I found it dull and boring, but this year I have never felt more motivated to work in my methods class than any other class ever. I think as soon as I started being challenged and started learning cool concepts my interest just went through the roof. Now maths is almost a hobby and I just go ahead in the textbook whenever I'm bored.
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DrDusk

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Re: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2019, 06:58:05 pm »
0
The thing is with Australian math education is that the difficulty goes up like an e^x curve. Up to year 10 the math we do is years behind what the asian countries are doing like China. Then we get into year 12 here in NSW and you pick Maths ext 2, and suddenly in just one year your on par with a lot of them. There's no gradual buildup, rather a massive spike..

I will say though I always liked Math's since primary.
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Re: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 07:12:54 pm »
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I never enjoyed years 7, 8 and 9 maths. I've forgotten most of the content they used to teach but I remember year 8 trigonometry and congruency was a topic I hated a lot. I skipped year 10 maths and went straight to methods and enjoyed it a lot more because the questions were less wordy and required more actual arithmetic. I feel like the years 7-9 prepare you more for general/further rather than methods/spesh and you're right that the system is designed to not adequately prepare students for the harder VCE maths as you need a very solid foundation in topics like algebra to have a not-so-terrible time.
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Coolgalbornin03Lo

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Re: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2019, 08:40:07 pm »
0
This probably depends on the school and its administration, but what do you think? I'll give you a little snippet of my past experiences.

The year is 2017. I am in Year 10. Based on my maths performance in previous years (basically never got below 80-85% in a maths test), I get placed in a Pre-Methods class. In the first semester, I struggle. Never got above a 75%. Thankfully, the second semester yields better results. But during the second semester, I made the fateful decision to study Methods 1&2. It opened up more course options than Further (how naive was I back then), and my teacher said I was capable.

Fast forward to the winter of 2018, I've barely passed a Methods SAC, getting 53%. Circular functions and calculus then show me the true meaning of pain. That was when I considered dropping Methods. Just like the last year, I asked my teacher whether I would be capable of Methods 3&4, and they said yes. So I took their word for it (how dumb was I...), and kept going.

Now 2019 has arrived. In June, I experienced an overflow of despair and utter sorrow over a maths test unlike anything I've ever endured in my entire life so far. I froze up and just surrendered to that paper. Though things have improved slightly since then, I am still feeling the pressure as exams are only 3 months away. And I feel like I'm at a Unit 1 level in terms of my understanding.



With that being said, I felt like Year 7-9 Maths was a complete joke in comparison. I barely tried, but still racked up consistent 90+ results in tests. I don't know if that's just my school, but has anyone experienced anything of this nature? And what can a school do to ensure the story of my VCE maths journey is never again replicated? No disrespect to my school at all.

Yours sincerely,
A soon-to-be Year 12 Methods survivor
Your completely right I was a high acheiveing year 10 student (>90% grades) and maths methods has reduced me to a 40% student. The curriculum prepares us for further maths and gently scrapes over the skills vital for Methods. The only way to overcome this for me was to get a tutor but I know thatís not an option for everybody :(
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Re: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2019, 09:35:50 pm »
0
Quite the opposite for me. I always liked Math's but my results never reflected it, I used to get straight 60s and 70s until year 10.
As soon as I started putting in effort into doing harder problems my rank and mark immediately rose from being at the bottom in year 10 to first in Maths ext 1 and so forth.
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Re: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2019, 10:39:35 pm »
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In regards to the original question, i recon it depends on the maths the student is seeking to do in VCE.

If the student is just doing Further, they would normally be quite prepared for the subjects by the 7-10 curriculum.

If the student is doing Methods, there should definitely be a prep class in at least Yr 10, if not before.

If the student plans to do spesh, they should see a psycologist ;) No offence you insane brainiacs
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Re: Are we adequately preparing students for VCE-level maths?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2019, 02:00:31 am »
0
The median mark in Methods exam 2 is just over 50%, if I remember correctly. That's equivalent to a 30. Teachers should be setting SACs that are similar in difficulty to the final exam (possibly with slight adjustments to be made easier given there's less revision time available). So I don't necessarily see getting 50-60% as a bad thing. Most people who take Methods find a huge chunk of questions too challenging.