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Going beyond the syllabus: a study of A level Mathematics teachers and students

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We explored teachers’ views and students’ experiences of going beyond the syllabus in Advanced (A) level Mathematics. Questionnaires were sent to teachers and students in a sample of 200 schools and colleges. Teachers were asked about the necessity, importance and benefits of additional teaching. Students were asked about the extra activities they undertook. Forty-seven teacher questionnaires and 299 student questionnaires were completed. Over half of the students claimed to undertake at least some extra activities. Although a few teachers thought teaching beyond the syllabus was unimportant and unnecessary, over 70% felt it should be undertaken if time allowed. Teaching efficacy was measured by comparing each teacher’s students’ Mathematics results with those students’ results in other A level subjects. Significantly more teachers with relatively high Mathematics results than with relatively low results believed teaching beyond the syllabus strengthens and expands students’ existing knowledge and adds interest to the course.

Keywords: A level; Level 3 teaching; Mathematics; extra-curricular teaching; teaching efficacy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Research Division,Cambridge Assessment (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate), Cambridge, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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