Our GCSE Maths experts answer your questions

You asked us - October 2017

Our Head of Curriculum for Maths – Andrew Taylor – shares his expertise to answer the questions you’ve been asking us this month.

We’ve got your back – every step of the way.

In January 2018, you asked us about...

How do I decide which tier to enter my students for?

There are many factors influencing this decision and there is no simple answer to this question. The key thing is that each student has the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability in the exam.

Here are some resources that may help you when it comes to making tiering decisions.

Blog post: reflections on the summer 2017 results

In September, I wrote a blog reflecting on summer 2017 results, which covers:

  • thoughts on tier choice
  • the tiered outcomes and how they are obtained
  • level of demand on Higher papers
  • how the results compare to summer 2016.

Read the blog post: New GCSE: reflections on the first results

Use the common questions

Consider how your students perform on the questions that are common to both tiers. Have a look at our common questions test resources, which groups together the common questions from the summer 2017 exams – there’s one for each of the three papers.

Fay Sheppard, Director of Maths for United Learning, has written a short blog post explaining how she uses common questions across this large multi-academy trust.

Read the blog post: Tiering choices - how common questions can support your decisions

Question Level Analysis

Question Level Analysis (QLA) helps you to understand how students perform on different types of questions, which in turn helps you to choose the right tier.

Use our Mock Exam Analysers to produce Question Level Analysis for your students. You can:

  • measure your students’ performance against the students who sat the live exam in summer 2017 – on each individual question
  • identify topics where students performed strongly and any areas for improvement
  • see how close students are to their target grade
  • view model answers and examiner comments for each question
  • use the Class Comparison Analysers to see common answering patterns among your students at a glance using RAG (red, amber and green) colour coding.

Change tier for free before 21 April

The entries deadline for GCSE exams in summer 2018 is 21 February 2018. However, you can change your tier of entry up to 21 April 2018 without paying any additional fees. See Entries for more information.

Whichever tier you choose, I wish your students the very best of luck.