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Core Maths Assessment – Correlation and Regression

I recently made some assessments that used mail merge to give slightly different questions to students while still making it not too unreasonable to mark.

I’ve just made another set for correlation and regression. I can’t take credit for the questions themselves as I’ve borrowed the main ideas from somewhere else (source forgotten I’m afraid).

You can check out the instructions for how to get it to work from the previous assessment post. Again, if you’re familiar with mail merge, you can probably just work it out.

You’ll need to download both of those files before opening the word document. As an added bonus this time, I’ve put together an attempt at a mark scheme.

It was quite difficult to get this all to work so I hope it’s worthwhile!

Core Maths Assessment – Tax and NI

I’ve written Tax and National Insurance mini-assessment with the twist of being individualised for each student (to help prevent cheating).

You need to download both the files first. This uses mailmerge so, if you’re familiar with that you should be fine!

When you open the Word file, it will ask you to select the recipients for the mailmerge. (If prompted, choose “an existing list”.)

Find the place you saved the Excel file and choose open.

It will assume you want sheet 1 so just press OK.

Now, in the mailings tab, choose finish and merge, edit individual documents.

Choose From 1 to *the number of students you teach* then press OK

Finally, choose, Save As and save as a pdf with a suitable name.

Upload this to the place your students can get to the work and give them explicit instructions to complete the sheet number you say. Something like:

Barry – do sheet 1

Martha – do sheet 2

Vijay – do sheet 3


The Excel sheet has the ‘answers’ in it so you can see what the students should be getting. I am only treating this as a mini-assessment so will use my judgment when awarding marks . Q2 is based heavily on the AQA Specimen paper, Q3 if you want to use that mark scheme as a guide.

Hopefully that’s of use – let me know if you think of any clever adaptations!

AER – Videos and 2 work sheets (with answers)

I’ve been working my way through some finance material and, due to lockdown, thought it was easier to have videos. Here they are along with some worksheets. Feel free to link them to wherever you’re setting your work.

Nominal Interest rate

AER – what is it and how to calculate

AER – worked example of an exam-style question

AER – true or false statements

AER – a deposit for a house

AER – in reverse – challenging!

Hopefully that little lot is of use to you!

Income Tax and National Insurance questions (2020-2021)

This is just a simple set of questions with varying levels of difficulty. I’ve slightly adapted two old past paper questions to go with 5 I’ve made up. There’s nothing particularly special about the questions but they are up to date and just provide more practice.

Answers are included!

Mortgage calculations

In the most recent Core Maths exam for AQA, they made use of a scary-looking mortgage repayment formula.

Now, I don’t think it’s really that bad but it is a challenging substitution formula for anyone that isn’t very confident with maths. It’s also a fair bit of a challenge to be able to use a calculator correctly with a formula as complex as that one.

I think that future exams may make use of other complex looking financial formulae so I’ll try to see what else is out there as possible candidates. While I don’t think that AQA will be using this particular formula again any time soon, I have written a few questions that you might like to use so that students can (hopefully) become less fearful of complicated substitutions. (Both files are the same, just different formats.)

Do let me know if these are any use and if you find some other financial formula candidates!

Critical Analysis – Claims about France

In my scheme of work for Core Maths, I have a two week slot near the end for Critical Analysis. My original thinking was that I’d use the preliminary material as the catalyst since the questions are most likely to be about them anyway.

I was hoping/intending to weave some critical analysis throughout the course and that’s one of my main aims for this year. We’re working on estimation at the moment and this leaflet came in a gift box I received.

I think that points 4 and 10 both have opportunities for fact checking. 4 seems intuitively unlikely to me but I’d like to know more. 10 sounds believable but I think there’s something about “well, how many would that be per day?” That could help check its validity. Seems like a useful skill to develop for helping with newspaper headings.

I can’t quite put my finger on why these feel like they belong in the estimation section of my SoW but that’s where they’re going.

Do share your own critical analysis activities please!

Back to School – The New Normal

My school started back last week:

  • Tues was Inset
  • Weds we had just year 7 and 12 in
  • Thursday was years 7, 11, 12 and 13
  • Friday was with everyone.

There were clearly quite a lot of nervous people, both staff and students, and a fair bit of uncertainty around some things but that was to be expected and I think can only really be found out when things actually start.

While I’m not a fan of the phrase “The New Normal”, I can tell you that I found that most things really were surprisingly close to “The Old Normal”. Aside from some extra hand sanitising on the way in and out of classrooms the actual lessons felt pretty normal to me. I tried to just get on an do some maths with my classes and honestly, it felt a lot like back to being an “Old, Normal Teacher”.

If you’re worried about all the rules at your school, I’m going to tentatively suggest to you – don’t worry, things will be fine!

Core Maths lesson 1 – September 2020

Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog.

What a year eh? Let’s not dwell on that and get in to some nice Core Maths work. This post has what I’m intending to use with my classes (and for the first time I have a second teacher with a class).

I’ve chosen to use the Corona virus as the theme for the first lesson. Here are my reasons:

  • I think that to ignore it would feel weird
  • I’ve picked some aspects that are relatively light hearted (to avoid issue of students that have suffered losses)
  • I normally launch straight into the course but there are always students that chop and change subjects. These are a nice couple of activities that aren’t vital if they’re missed!

The lesson uses hand sanitiser to have a quick ‘which is best value’ question and also introduce that massive Core Maths aspect of , “Well, it kind of depends what you mean…”

I’ve also looked at toilet roll because it was such a massive issue and there’s some good maths to be had there. You could, of course, use Mark’s QUIBANs on it if you like.

As ever, please use and adapt as you wish. If you have better ideas that I can use then please share.

If you are new to the blog, please leave a comment and subscribe – it’s always nice to hear from people!

Wrong but Useful podcast – the end of an era

Today sees the release of the final episode of the podcast I’ve been recording with Colin for 7 years.

You can listen to it here

We’ve talked about a lot of maths over the years and had special guest co hosts that try to represent people from a broader demographic than Colin and I. It’s a good time to point out that Colin did the vast, vast bulk the co host finding work here and I’m grateful for that.

If you didn’t know I recorded a podcast, you might like to check out the back episodes.

We started the podcast to fill a gap in the maths podcasting world and there are now, fortunately, a number of other options available. Colin and I still like each other and haven’t ruled out working together in the future but it was time for this podcast to come to its end.

I have got loose plans for a new podcast with more of a focus on maths education. Given where we are in the world now, I don’t think it’ll happen any time soon but I’m sure I’ll mention it here when it does.

Thank you to all of the listeners and anyone who has contributed with suggestions for items to discuss. Thanks also to the (approximately) 40 special guest co hosts – it has been wonderful to be able to talk maths with such a great bunch of people.

Finally, thanks to Colin for all he’s done and for being willing to talk to me every month. If you weren’t aware, Colin writes books and they are actually good. Available in all good book stores, some less good book stores and probably your local library too.

So, this has been episodes 1 to n of Wrong, but Useful. I’m @reflectivemaths, that’s Dave in real life. Cheerio!

(Now, how do we get into pretending this didn’t happen?)

Core Maths Estimation Question

Here’s a slightly different approach to asking an estimation question and I’m using it with my year 11s going into year 12 next week.

It occurred to me that while getting an average/estimated result for something is certainly useful, there may well be times when knowing what reasonable boundaries are. There’s probably a loose link here to the idea of confidence intervals too.

Bonus points if you can work out what Len’s accent is!