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An awesome maths exam question

November 30, 2014

Wow. Take a look at this:

WJEC 10 mark Q

From here: http://www.wjec.co.uk/uploads/publications/8410.pdf

Now guess how many marks.

The paper is a Foundation paper lasting 1 1/4 hours and has a total of 65 marks. (This Q is also on the Higher tier.)

Have you guessed yet?

Ok, this question is worth 10 marks. TEN marks. I like this a lot. It’s not overly structured and is more functional than I’ve seen on many functional maths papers.

This is the question on the paper that assesses the student’s Quality of Written Communication (QWC).

A couple of things I’d like to see as improvements:

  • The premise is still a little flimsy. Why has Alice decided to do this report for her parents? Could it have been for her employer or perhaps to attempt to convince her parents for an increase in monthly allowance?
  • There’s no extraneous information. It would be nice to see a chance for students to pick out what is important here.

Still, overall, I feel this is a step in the right direction.

Oh, and I’ve just seen this one on the Higher tier paper too. 8 marks:

wjec 8 mark Q

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9 Comments
  1. mrlock permalink

    Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

  2. Something to do with time (how long spent driving or working for example) would be a great red herring.

    Also I wonder what the mark scheme would say with regard to estimation. If my parents requested a report on petrol (as you say an odd justification) they would be perfectly happy with me rounding that price of petrol to £1. With a mark for saying it is an underestimate. That approach would demonstrate a great deal of mathematical fluency, so I hope it wouldn’t be docked marks. But it would I suspect.

  3. Just had a look myself (after popping the question in a powerpoint for Y9 tomorrow). My round to £1 would not have been acceptable. Although provision is made for ‘sensible approximation’.

    “Do not penalise sensible approximations e.g. using
    103p for cost of 1 litre, rounding 960 litres to 1000,
    rounding £82.32 to £80 or rounding £987.84 to £1000”

  4. True but I would have interpreted example of 103p as meaning that 100p is too much of an approximation. Maybe I would have marked it too harshly then. Would love some way to give credit to the pupil who then says that the rounding caused and underestimate (or over) of the price.

    • Diificult to say what the mark scheme means there.
      With time, i wonder if questions like this may become more common and mark schemes adapt to allow some flexibility.

  5. Hi Dave, these are lovely questions. You will find more good ones on the new SAMs for Wales first teaching 2015 and on the pilot linked pair papers which you can get on the WJEC site too 🙂

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