A level maths question

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Neill Cooper
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A level maths question

Post by Neill Cooper » Fri May 18, 2018 8:39 am

From yesterday's OCR AS Level Further Maths Statistics paper.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: A level maths question

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » 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?).

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: A level maths question

Post by Jonathan Rogers » 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?

NickFaulks
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Re: A level maths question

Post by NickFaulks » Fri May 18, 2018 9:12 am

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
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?
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.

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Re: A level maths question

Post by Alex Holowczak » 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Putting aside the outdated chess references and formula, question (i) shows how in my opinion, education isn't keeping up with how things are done in reality.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.
Last edited by Alex Holowczak on Fri May 18, 2018 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

NickFaulks
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Re: A level maths question

Post by NickFaulks » Fri May 18, 2018 9:41 am

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

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Re: A level maths question

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 9:41 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 9:31 am
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?
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.
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. :P

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.

NickFaulks
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Re: A level maths question

Post by NickFaulks » Fri May 18, 2018 9:47 am

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

NickFaulks
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Re: A level maths question

Post by NickFaulks » Fri May 18, 2018 9:57 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 am
so it'd be impressive to be out by a factor of 10 and not notice. :P
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.

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Re: A level maths question

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri May 18, 2018 10:24 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 9:47 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 am
Then you use your brain to work out if the answer is reasonable or nonsense.
Yes, but they don't!
NickFaulks wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 9:57 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 9:45 am
so it'd be impressive to be out by a factor of 10 and not notice. :P
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.
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.

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.

Brian Valentine
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Re: A level maths question

Post by Brian Valentine » 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.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: A level maths question

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri May 18, 2018 10:57 am

..I knew I was going wrong somewhere!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: A level maths question

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri May 18, 2018 11:05 am

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 10:55 am
I hope he doesn't advocate getting out the calculator on their mobile phone to add up each set of points on taken pieces.
Vaguely relevant to how things are taught, but why teach the counting of the pieces off the board? Why not those on the board?

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?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: A level maths question

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » 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?

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JustinHorton
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Re: A level maths question

Post by JustinHorton » Fri May 18, 2018 11:25 am

I hope not (at least with the second part of that).
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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