Nuffield Advanced Mathematics 1992
Director Hugh Neill
Nuffield Advanced Mathematics drew on the expertise of a range of organisations including the Northumberland Supported Self-study Unit, the Manchester Mechanics in Action project, teachers in several local authorities, and the insights of team members at King’s College London and West Sussex Institute of Higher Education.
The course featured modern mathematics including its applications in art and music, and exploited the new power of programmable calculators and computers. It included exploratory data analysis based on large datasets, and the use of algorithms to improve students' understanding of mathematics.
There was an emphasis on building good intuitive understanding, through experimenting with graphical and numerical approaches and mathematical modelling before or in parallel with more formal analytical approaches.
The aim was to attract a wider range of students – including more girls – to A-level maths. Individual students have different needs, and the course allowed them to choose from a range of options and to apply mathematics in solving real problems. Students were encouraged to co-operate, to take responsibility for their own learning, and to use resources independently. They were expected to write about mathematics, give presentations, and use technology appropriately.
Despite the originality and high quality of the publications, not many schools adopted the course. The course started in 1994 just as new accountability measures based on league tables were having a major influence on decisions being taken in schools and colleges. As a result, this innovative and challenging course was short-lived and the last examination was in 1999.
Also on the web
Download the publications from the STEM Centre website. See particularly the Teachers’ notes introductory chapters.