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A missed opportunity?

I’m sure you all have had a look at the new GCSEs by now and have either started teaching it or have at least started thinking about the boards and looked at what’s on offer. One of the things that pearson have produced is a baseline test aimed at year 9 to decide whether to teach them higher or foundation, today I was looking through it and a couple of questions jumped out:


This is a lovely question, although there’s one thing that annoys me about it. Can you guess????? Yes, that’s it! It’s that stupid picture of a stupid calculator. We need our students to be confident working in terms of pi, if this was a non-calculator question it would be brilliant:


We could even equate areas instead and thus include fractions:


In reality, as it is, it’s plugging numbers into a calculator and rounding, giving a non exact answer, a grrrr moment and a missed opportunity!

The other question that jumps out is this:


A lovely opportunity to play with numbers and fractions, a non-calculator question too. I love it:


All that confusion and a brilliant simple answer.

Have you any favourite questions from these baseline tests? Any favourite resources for the new GCSEs? I’d love to hear them.

  1. Trevor J.
    April 8, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Just wondering I have read the first question correctly. I got $10\pi – 18$ for $x$. It looks the solutions has set the circumference equal to area of rectangle. I do agree that a calculator is unnecessary, and potentially detrimental. Like your blog.

    • April 9, 2015 at 12:01 am

      Indeed it is, must’ve been half asleep! Will ammend.

    • April 9, 2015 at 12:02 am

      I’m not sure if you’re paying me a complement or calling my blog detrimental at the end there!

  2. April 10, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Good post. I agree with your points.

    • April 10, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks rob.

  3. selena
    June 22, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    do you have the full paper for this exam

    • June 26, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      I’m not sure. I will have a look.

  1. April 28, 2015 at 1:07 pm

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