id: 06534924
dt: j
an: 2016b.00306
au: Little, Chris
ti: The origins and degree of contextualization in A level mathematics.
so: Math. Sch. (Leicester) 40, No. 2, 28-31 (2011).
py: 2011
pu: Mathematical Association (MA), Leicester
la: EN
cc: D30 D50 E10
ut: A level mathematics; history of mathematics education; formal approach;
applied approach; pure mathematics; mathematical applications;
real-life mathematics; problem posing; problem solving; mathematical
model building; pseudo-modelling; exam problems
ci: ME 2016b.00304
li:
ab: From the text: In [the authors, ibid. 40, No. 1, 13‒15 (2011; ME
2016b.00304)], I outlined two approaches to A/AS level pure mathematics
which are exemplified by ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ syllabuses.
In the ‘pure’ approach, the emphasis is on teaching pure
mathematics in its own right, by developing skills of algebraic
manipulation, analytical methods in, for example, calculus, teaching
the language of proof and mathematical notation, and so on. In the
‘modelling’ approach, pure mathematical ideas are taught through
their applications to the real world, and problems are presented using
real-world contextual framing. I am not suggesting that these two
approaches are in any way mutually exclusive: it would be futile to
attempt to teach pure mathematics entirely through its applications,
and, indeed, there would appear to be only certain topics which are
amenable to this sort of approach (try setting the binomial theorem in
the real world). However, take two current A/AS specifications, such as
OCR A and B (MEI), and a little simple analysis of the pure mathematics
papers reveals that questions set in real-world context are much more
common in the latter than the former, which focuses on mathematical
technique to a greater degree than application. Where do these
differences in approach originate, and why?
rv: