World News – UA – ‘One of the toughest exams I’ve encountered’: Common new math content divides HSC students


Many standard math students have decried the difficulty of their HSC exam, after the tests were changed this year to allow better comparisons between different high school math levels

Monday’s exams marked the first time Standard Math, the lower-level non-calculus course, shared common questions with the middle-level Calculus course, advanced math

Manya Jain, HSC student, Parramatta High, after completing the new advanced exam, with Belinda Aylett, chief math teacher Credit: Louie Douvis

Almost a quarter of the exam content – 23 points out of 100 – was the same for both exams on Monday morning, but teachers could only speculate what form it would take

Parramatta High School Math Principal Belinda Aylett said there was « a bit of a surprise » in the end product « I think it was unexpected For advanced students it was fine, but standard students found it difficult, ”she said

« The common content came from a variety of different topics It was really hard for some students to answer these questions – some were really »

Common elements included a 4-point two-part financial math question that involved calculating interest and a 4-point question asking students to calculate the area of ​​a decagon based on its perimeter One of the most confusing questions was a 5 point stats problem

These questions will give the NSW Education Standards Authority and the Universities Admissions Center data allowing a better comparison of student performance in the two subjects.

After years of worry, advanced students were at a disadvantage in scaling as their peers opted for the simpler math course to achieve higher grades and improve their ATARs Almost 17,000 students passed the advanced exam on Monday, while 30,757 took the standard test

Parramatta High School student Manya Jain, who took the new advanced exam, said she felt relatively prepared despite the lack of previous papers « It was really tough, but it must be the first year » , she said

But standard math student Rasheel Tannous from St Mary’s had a very different experience. « This exam has been one of the most difficult exams I have encountered, » she said.  » During my reading time, I really thought that articles with advanced and standard levels got confused « 

She thought most of the questions shared were too advanced for her knowledge and regretted not having a full understanding of some of the topics that had been taught during the lockdown earlier this year

Manly student Lydia Virgo agreed « The last thing I expected was that NESA would make the exam 10 times harder than last year. There were terms used in some questions including I had never even heard of it before, ”she said

« A few questions that I must have read and reread at least five times to finally understand And then there were just a few questions that I didn’t even know how to tackle I’m extremely disappointed »

NSW Mathematical Association president Karen McDaid said teachers were reporting common questions were not well received Standard students found the statistics question to be 5 points, which was the penultimate of their exam, particularly difficult

« Some teachers say their students are very upset and the standard paper was difficult, » teacher said « Students are upset that they don’t know what to expect, » said another

A spokeswoman for NESA said the authority had « received feedback from a number of students and parents about the difficulty of today’s Maths Standard 2 exam »

“NESA confirms that all questions asked on today’s Maths Standard 2 exam were within the scope of the curriculum,” she said “All HSC exam papers are designed to differentiate student results NESA will closely monitor the grading of the Maths Standard 2 article « 

Dr Julie Greenhalgh, director of Meridan, who generally does well in math, had a similar view « The standard document was more difficult than before but not inappropriately, » she said. p>

« The advanced document covered a wide range of topics and many questions were accessible, especially those about the new content of the program There was an appropriate mix of common and familiar questions from the old format, interspersed with the new « 

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News from the world – AU – « One of the most difficult exams I have encountered »: new common content in math divides HSC students



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