The GCSE Maths exam is assessed by examination at the end of the GCSE course. With the introduction of the 1-9 grading system last year, students are no longer required to submit coursework.
With the cessation of the coursework component of the course, the syllabus has expanded slightly with the goal of giving students a higher level of preparation. My view is that this is a positive development - students spend more time on improving their Maths skills and less time preparing long and arduous coursework pieces.
There are two papers that students can sit: the Foundation Tier paper on which the maximum grade a student can achieve is a 5 and the Higher Tier paper which allows candidates to score up to a grade 9.
A grade 4 is the pass mark and all Universities in the UK require at least this mark for admission. Many vocational courses now require a grade 4 or above for entry.
For some of the more competitive university courses, students may require a grade 7-9 to gain a place.
I specialize in KS3 and Foundation Tier Maths. I also teach Higher Tier up to level 7.
When students begin classes, I spend the first two sessions working through a variety of problems in order to assess the level of the student and to identify areas of weakness.
Problem based approach:
We then work on the problem areas that were flagged up in the assessment. I will take students through the relevant topic and we will spend a lot of time working on practice questions. I advocate working through a high-volume of questions on each topic as this gives the opportunity for students to test their knowledge and understanding in a wide variety of question styles. We will stay on a topic until the student is able to deal with any potential question competently - sometimes this may mean we will spend several sessions working on the same topic.
Closely monitored progress:
I take a record of the topic covered in each session and how the student fared in practice. In this way, I'm able to build a file on the students progress over the course of the year. Naturally this also enables me to track which topics have been covered and which we still need to cover. If I work with a year eleven student for an entire academic year then I will aim to cover all topics on the syllabus across the academic year as well as spending at least two months focusing on practice papers.
It's important that students are proactive in the way that they approach the tuition. I will set the structure for classes, but if students have been struggling with a particular topic at school, we will spend time working on it.
Last year was a particularly successful cohort of students at GCSE level. I worked with a large number of re-sit candidates and year 11 students who had been struggling to reach the pass mark. All of the students that I worked with on a weekly basis achieved a pass mark. Within this group there were a number of students that I worked with exclusively online. It is always exceptionally satisfying to see students who have been struggling in the subject gain a pass-mark. It takes a lot of hard-work to make those improvements so it was great to see students get the results they were looking for.