### A level maths question

Posted:

**Fri May 18, 2018 8:39 am**From yesterday's OCR AS Level Further Maths Statistics paper.

The independent home for discussions on the English Chess scene.

https://www.ecforum.org.uk/

Page **1** of **3**

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 8:39 am**

From yesterday's OCR AS Level Further Maths Statistics paper.

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 8:43 am**

Heh. Judith and Magnus. The question setter clearly has more than a passing familiarity with chess (though maybe the question was recycled from the time before the ECF came into existence and the BCF ceased to function as it used to, with the names updated or something?).

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 8:58 am**

How would candidates be able to answer the final question from the limited information given about ELO ratings?

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 9:12 am**

I would hope that you get your single mark for saying something like that. Probably the anticipated answer is that a a linear transformation of one set of data has no effect.Jonathan Rogers wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 8:58 amHow would candidates be able to answer the final question from the limited information given about ELO ratings?

Posted: **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Putting aside the outdated chess references and formula, question (i) shows how in my opinion, education isn't keeping up with how things are done in reality.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".

A better question would be to say what the value of r is, and ask what that means about the data.

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".

A better question would be to say what the value of r is, and ask what that means about the data.

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 9:41 am**

And then when the answer is wrong by a factor of 10 they have no idea, because it's just a number. When I operated in the financial derivatives markets it was always fun to deal with people who thought the value of an option was simply whatever their computer said it was.Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:31 amSurely everyone would just put the data into Excel, plot a graph, and choose the option in the settings to tell you what r is?

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 am**

Well, r in the context of what Excel produces - which before someone points it out, I realise isn't the same as PMCC - is a figure between 0 and 1, so it'd be impressive to be out by a factor of 10 and not notice.NickFaulks wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:41 amAnd then when the answer is wrong by a factor of 10 they have no idea, because it's just a number. When I operated in the financial derivatives markets it was always fun to deal with people who thought the value of an option was simply whatever their computer said it was.Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:31 amSurely everyone would just put the data into Excel, plot a graph, and choose the option in the settings to tell you what r is?

The skill that's more important these days is using the computer to do the grunt work of calculating things like r in this question, even if you have to type in a formula to do it for you. Then you use your brain to work out if the answer is reasonable or nonsense.

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 9:47 am**

Yes, but they don't!Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 amThen you use your brain to work out if the answer is reasonable or nonsense.

Posted: **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.Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 amso it'd be impressive to be out by a factor of 10 and not notice.

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 10:24 am**

NickFaulks wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:47 amYes, but they don't!Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 amThen you use your brain to work out if the answer is reasonable or nonsense.

These things are precisely why you should be taught to use the computer to do the grunt work and teach the human recognise when it's gone wrong, rather than regurgitating a formula you've been told to memorise and then plugging numbers into it. The former is much more important a skill these days.NickFaulks wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:57 amI 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.Alex Holowczak wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 amso it'd be impressive to be out by a factor of 10 and not notice.

To take a chess analogy, it's like memorising the first 20 moves of the Ruy Lopez, but blundering a piece on move 21 when you have to start to think for yourself. Much better to teach and examine the fundamental understanding of what's going on, rather than regurgitate something you memorised.

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 10:55 am**

When Alex teaches his beginners and is asked who is winning, I hope he doesn't advocate getting out the calculator on their mobile phone to add up each set of points on taken pieces. I fear this strategy might foul up somehow.

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 10:57 am**

..I knew I was going wrong somewhere!

Posted: **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?Brian Valentine wrote: ↑Fri May 18, 2018 10:55 amI hope he doesn't advocate getting out the calculator on their mobile phone to add up each set of points on taken pieces.

The mention of BCF sets the question in an historic context, notwithstanding the Magnus reference. Also the use of the 8 times multiplier in the conversion. Is there an A-level question in there about why the multiplier of 7.5 was later chosen?

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 11:22 am**

Is no-one going to post the answers? And discuss whether there is a correlation between chess ability and mathematics ability?

Posted: **Fri May 18, 2018 11:25 am**

I hope not (at least with the second part of that).