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### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 1:00 pm**

by **E Michael White**

NickFaulks wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:57 am

I have seen A level maths students solving equations with the aid of their programmable calculator and getting as far as something like cos x = 2 without grasping that something must have gone wrong. Cos is a button on a calculator, nothing more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C_XD_cCeeI

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 1:08 pm**

by **NickFaulks**

I did wonder whether it was necessary to specify that x was real and decided against, on the grounds that for A level purposes it is. Always a mistake.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 3:30 pm**

by **Neill Cooper**

r=0.400, which is significant at the 5% level (as >0.3783)

So the (made up) data is evidence that maths ability and chess playing ability are related.

I think this is a good A level stats question with only 2 of the 8 marks for working out r. Most of the marks were for applying the regression test and showing understanding of the data.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 4:00 pm**

by **Alex Holowczak**

Roger de Coverly wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 11:05 am

Vaguely relevant to how things are taught, but why teach the counting of the pieces off the board? Why not those on the board?

I normally encourage them to add up either on the board or off the board, depending on which is fewer.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 4:05 pm**

by **Alex Holowczak**

Neill Cooper wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 3:30 pm

r=0.400, which is significant at the 5% level (as >0.3783)

So the (made up) data is evidence that maths ability and chess playing ability are related.

I think this is a good A level stats question with only 2 of the 8 marks for working out r. Most of the marks were for applying the regression test and showing understanding of the data.

The issue I have with that is that due to the way the question is structured, if you can't remember the formula in part 1, how many marks for this question can you get? I suppose you could write down a random formula and come up with some random figure for r, and use that to proceed through the question, particularly the 4-mark part.

Maybe they could just say what the formula for r is, and reduce the question from 2 marks to 1, for successfully calculating r.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 4:06 pm**

by **Matt Mackenzie**

Christopher Kreuzer wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 11:22 am

And discuss whether there is a correlation between chess ability and mathematics ability?

The consensus seems to be that there is to a fairly limited degree. But nowhere near as much as many non-players imagine.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 4:55 pm**

by **NickFaulks**

Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 4:05 pm

The issue I have with that is that due to the way the question is structured, if you can't remember the formula in part 1, how many marks for this question can you get?

I expect it's in the formula book.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 5:26 pm**

by **Neill Cooper**

NickFaulks wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 4:55 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 4:05 pm

The issue I have with that is that due to the way the question is structured, if you can't remember the formula in part 1, how many marks for this question can you get?

I expect it's in the formula book.

Indeed it is in the formula book.

Even if you do get the value of r completely wrong you could still get most of the the remaining marks, you just perform the hypothesis test with the wrong r value.

The question is therefore well structured.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 5:29 pm**

by **Neill Cooper**

Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 4:00 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 11:05 am

Vaguely relevant to how things are taught, but why teach the counting of the pieces off the board? Why not those on the board?

I normally encourage them to add up either on the board or off the board, depending on which is fewer.

I only use the pieces on the board (someone could have borrowed a queen or a knight might have fallen on the floor), and also cancel equivalent pieces (though that is not so easy if only a few pieces have been taken).

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 6:12 pm**

by **Brian Towers**

Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:31 am

Putting aside the outdated chess references and formula, question (i) shows how in my opinion, education isn't keeping up with how things are done in reality. Who would calculate that figure of r manually, having first worked out all those sums? Surely everyone would just put the data into Excel, plot a graph, and choose the option in the settings to tell you what r is? I was saying the same sort of thing when I was at school, and it doesn't look like much has changed.

A decade ago, the answer was apparently "You'd do it manually", but surely these days the answer is now "Use a different computer" or "Fix the computer".

For some strange reason that brings to mind an image of pairing cards.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 9:54 pm**

by **Alex Holowczak**

Neill Cooper wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 5:26 pm

NickFaulks wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 4:55 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 4:05 pm

The issue I have with that is that due to the way the question is structured, if you can't remember the formula in part 1, how many marks for this question can you get?

I expect it's in the formula book.

Indeed it is in the formula book.

Even if you do get the value of r completely wrong you could still get most of the the remaining marks, you just perform the hypothesis test with the wrong r value.

The question is therefore well structured.

Ah, there's a formula sheet. I don't remember a formula sheet back in my day, although my school didn't do OCR for Mathematics. Where we had formula sheets, you had to spend time remembering which formulae were on the sheet and which weren't - I remember getting this wrong in Physics and so I hadn't remembered a formula I needed.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 9:56 pm**

by **Alex Holowczak**

Brian Towers wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 6:12 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:31 am

Putting aside the outdated chess references and formula, question (i) shows how in my opinion, education isn't keeping up with how things are done in reality. Who would calculate that figure of r manually, having first worked out all those sums? Surely everyone would just put the data into Excel, plot a graph, and choose the option in the settings to tell you what r is? I was saying the same sort of thing when I was at school, and it doesn't look like much has changed.

A decade ago, the answer was apparently "You'd do it manually", but surely these days the answer is now "Use a different computer" or "Fix the computer".

For some strange reason that brings to mind an image of pairing cards.

A good example, nowadays the backup is that the rest of the arbiting team brings their laptop too.

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Sat May 19, 2018 7:19 am**

by **Michael Farthing**

..but not always spare print cartridges for the printer!

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Sat May 19, 2018 7:32 am**

by **Julie Denning**

I recall about a quarter of a century ago attending a parents' evening at the secondary school my daughter was about to move up to. I asked a maths teacher whether they still covered things like log tables and slide rules. After some thought she retorted "only out of historical interest". She went on to say that students would soon need a calculator, albeit only a basic one, but noted that some turned up with the sort of calculator you'd have if you were studying for an engineering degree. I was minded to point out that I never owned any sort of electronic calculator until after I'd graduated with an engineering degree, but after the original put down I decided that discretion was called for in the time-honoured fashion of drawing myself up to my full height and walking out under the door. (Not difficult in my case, I hear you all say.)

I still reckon that once you were familiar with its use, and acknowledging the level of accuracy it could achieve, using a slide rule was at least as quick as using a calculator. You also had to have an appreciation of at least the order of magnitude of the answer to expect as it didn't tell you where to put the decimal point. It didn't fail, freeze, require batteries, an internet connection ….. Brilliant!

### Re: A level maths question

Posted: **Sat May 19, 2018 1:26 pm**

by **Brian Towers**

Julie Denning wrote: ↑Sat May 19, 2018 7:32 am

It didn't fail, freeze, require batteries, an internet connection ….. Brilliant!

It did, however, object to sand, which was a problem for a triple jumper like me who carried his books, slide rule and athletics kit in one haversack (what we nowadays call a rucksack). Actually, thinking about it, the posh kids (well, as posh as kids at a Sunderland state school could be 50 years ago) carried their academic stuff in a briefcase.