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  Reply # 1636209 19-Sep-2016 22:19
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I did a couple of 100-level maths papers at university, along with some various independent bits of learning. Haven't used that sort of algebra in a wee while, but didn't take me that long to get the hang of most of it. Don't think I would have got Excellence, but would pass easily.

 

Most of the questions are reasonably straightforward but do require a bit of comprehension. There are some questions that look harder than they actually are, as well - such as the ball flight question, and there are some questions that are super open-ended (hugely annoying but I can see why they are there) such as the "what does this tell us about x?". It's possibly a little heavy for Year 11, and the really tough questions are IMO legitimately tough for Y11, but there's enough low hanging fruit in there for people to pass the thing.

 

My Year 13 year was the first year of the NZ Scholarship exams, and we had a situation where the STEM subject exams for NZScholarship were much harder than the non-stem based on percentage of scholarships given. It caused a bit of a furore and resulted in NZQA adding an additional certificate for people who didn't pass NZ Scholarship, but got a high number of excellence credits in the subjects. I see a lot of comments around scaling and grading - which is unfortunately quite a bit harder with NCEA than it is with simple percentage correct exams - you have to have a look at the marking criteria for each of the grades.

 

Two of the best mathematics students I knew at high school walked out early from the NZ Scholarship calculus exams completely demoralised. They both failed. One is now an accountant, and one has a PhD in maths. I understand the claims that it's unfair - because those students missed out on scholarship grants because the exam was too hard - but this is Year 11. You're not getting scholarships or university entry at Y11.


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  Reply # 1636260 20-Sep-2016 02:10
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It is pretty much the format of questions we were asked during the 90's at school, when we had end of year exams,  instead of all this NCEA stuff. The questions make you think a lot more. Probably proves that it was harder back when we only had end of year exams, as you had to cram a whole years worth of work into a single 3 hour exam, which was a heck of a long time looking back on it.  Certainly maths wasn't easy back then.But it was good preparation for university maths which I also did.


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  Reply # 1636270 20-Sep-2016 05:54
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I have always regretted not doing maths in high school and university even though I typically don't need to do any I can't already do. I hope those kids are not put off from carrying on with maths, it's important in so many programs of further study.



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  Reply # 1636280 20-Sep-2016 06:52
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I'm guessing this paper is a piece ok cake for GCE O level students. Maybe it's set by an ex o levels teacher lol.




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  Reply # 1636286 20-Sep-2016 07:18
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mattwnz: They looked to be the standard type of questions when I did end of year maths exams at school for school C and the like in the 90s. They don't even look you difficult just basic algebra.Many people used to fail maths when I was at school so it makes me wonder if students these days aren't learning how to put real life situation's to maths.


Which is worrying because the new articles say head of dept of a certain school along with all the math teachers as a group could not complete the test




Swype on iOS is detrimental to accurate typing. Apologies in advance.


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  Reply # 1636294 20-Sep-2016 07:44
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Life's not fair kiddies, sometimes you're going to be challenged and just have to do your best with what you have. Scores are graded on a curve, so if you get 20% and the average is 10%, you probably get a high mark. Seems like the kids have been wrapped in cotton wool and needed a dose of reality.

 

The exam does look to be more difficult than is reasonable, with different question styles, which isn't really fair.





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  Reply # 1636365 20-Sep-2016 09:42
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A recurring theme seems to be preparation by model answers to previous exams. From memory that was the fallback strategy that teachers that I had 50 years ago used to get better results out of a class than deserved. The teacher realizing that either they hadn't managed to cover the syllabus or the class didn't take it in. As an example the French class I was in for School Cert were collectively hopeless at the language but we all passed by being expert in the question that asked for cities or rivers.

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  Reply # 1636372 20-Sep-2016 09:53
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timmmay:

 

Life's not fair kiddies, sometimes you're going to be challenged and just have to do your best with what you have. Scores are graded on a curve, so if you get 20% and the average is 10%, you probably get a high mark. Seems like the kids have been wrapped in cotton wool and needed a dose of reality.

 

The exam does look to be more difficult than is reasonable, with different question styles, which isn't really fair.

 

Yeah, I tend to agree. There was a comment on a news site from a student which said they "studied for days" for the test and was "devastated" by the difficulty. I recall having to study for weeks, and often months to feel confident enough to cover all the material.

 

*shrug* If my kid was doing the test, and had only studied for a week or so, and came out disappointed with the outcome I wouldn't be complaining about the test. This is all assuming the unit standards at some point covered all the required skills to pass the test, which I certainly hope they did, because I recall doing them when I was that age.

 

 


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  Reply # 1636373 20-Sep-2016 09:54
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timmmay:

 

Scores are graded on a curve,

 

 

Are you sure? I thought that was the old School C thing, which was dropped with NCEA, which is achievement based. There's no mention of scaling at http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/qualifications-standards/qualifications/ncea/ncea-exams-and-portfolios/external/

 

 


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  Reply # 1636375 20-Sep-2016 09:58
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Bung: A recurring theme seems to be preparation by model answers to previous exams.

 

Well, yes... the question is whether you should be training kids to pass exams or teaching them something useful.

 

The whole exam thing is a pretty poor model for life.

 

 


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  Reply # 1636497 20-Sep-2016 12:28
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Disrespective:

 

timmmay:

 

Life's not fair kiddies, sometimes you're going to be challenged and just have to do your best with what you have. Scores are graded on a curve, so if you get 20% and the average is 10%, you probably get a high mark. Seems like the kids have been wrapped in cotton wool and needed a dose of reality.

 

The exam does look to be more difficult than is reasonable, with different question styles, which isn't really fair.

 

Yeah, I tend to agree. There was a comment on a news site from a student which said they "studied for days" for the test and was "devastated" by the difficulty. I recall having to study for weeks, and often months to feel confident enough to cover all the material.

 

*shrug* If my kid was doing the test, and had only studied for a week or so, and came out disappointed with the outcome I wouldn't be complaining about the test. This is all assuming the unit standards at some point covered all the required skills to pass the test, which I certainly hope they did, because I recall doing them when I was that age.

 

 

 

I studied for four months before my first AWS architect exam, then two months before my next. A couple of days? Step it up.





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  Reply # 1636499 20-Sep-2016 12:34
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timmmay:

 

I studied for four months before my first AWS architect exam, then two months before my next. A couple of days? Step it up.

 

 

Amen. We had weeks of study leave before NCEA exams, and any students who expected to achieve well spent the whole time studying furiously.


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  Reply # 1636501 20-Sep-2016 12:45
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MattikusNZ:

I'll post some answers as I get a chance - just in the middle of the kids bedtime routine (bath / book / etc).


Day 1 MCAT 2016


 


1ai - the area of a rectangle is x²-x-2, if one side has length x+1 meters, give the second side in terms of x


Rectangle area = length * width


x²-x-2 = length * (x+1)


so length = (x²-x-2)/(x+1)


Or you could continue on with a bit of long division and get (x-2) as the other length - I'm not sure where they're expected to stop in Year 11. I did this through long division, but you can check the result with:


area = length * width


area = (x+1)(x-2)


area= x²-2x+x-2


area = x²-x-2 (which is the area given at the start)


 


[edit - bit of formatting tidy up, use of the superscript 2, etc)



It is simple factorisation. And they've already given you one of the factors, x+1.
Remember FOIL? (first, outside, inside, last)


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  Reply # 1636513 20-Sep-2016 12:57
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joker97:
mattwnz: They looked to be the standard type of questions when I did end of year maths exams at school for school C and the like in the 90s. They don't even look you difficult just basic algebra.Many people used to fail maths when I was at school so it makes me wonder if students these days aren't learning how to put real life situation's to maths.


Which is worrying because the new articles say head of dept of a certain school along with all the math teachers as a group could not complete the test


Perhaps that is the real issue, not that the questions were too difficult for the students' year of schooling, but that some of the teachers themselves were incapable of solving the problems and therefore not properly qualified (suited) to teaching mathematics at that level, and hence many students struggled because they had not been properly taught.

These questions are what I did in the 4th form (now year 10) in 1988. Admittedly I was the top or second best maths student for my year in a large school, but for year 11 students these questions shouldn't be a problem because they are part of the curriculum.

An issue I found when tutoring students in maths was that their difficulties with mathematics started back at primary school when they failed to learn basic addition, subtraction, and timestables off by heart. So any talk at high school of algebra, trigonometry and calculus went straight over their heads and became a confusing bunch of rules, rather than understanding from which rules naturally present themselves. I remember a kid in 4th form, getting out his calculator to work out what 1x something was. Those basic facts up to 10+10 and 10x10 (up to 12x12 in my day) need to drilled into the kids at primary school, and, in my opinion, until they are the child is not ready for high school (or even intermediate) mathematics and so should be held back and given extra assistance.




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  Reply # 1636517 20-Sep-2016 13:02
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Been through the questions, been a long time since I did any serious maths. They remind me very much of the types of questions we did during School C maths in 5th form. I presume it's the modern schooling equivalent of that. I'm not sure the questions are too hard, but perhaps too many for the time given?





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