This is not one we’ve had time to look at but it seems important. We don’t intend to comment but we’re providing this post as a forum for discussion.
In November last year, VCAA released its draft of the new mathematics study design, to begin in 2023. The draft is no longer linked on VCAA’s website, but we wrote about the draft here, here and here. The current study design, ostensibly in operation until the end of 2022, is here.
Given Covid, and anyway, more than a few teachers have expressed concern at the timing and the speed of the implementation of the new study design. In particular, it seems that many teachers consider the simultaneous implementation of the new Year 11 and Year 12 syllabi to be unnecessary and unwise. In early August, a network of Heads of maths submitted a joint letter to the VCAA expressing such concerns. VCAA responded to that letter a couple weeks later. At the time, we publicly stated our view of VCAA’s response, but we’ll hold off for now. Both letters are embedded below.
It has now been brought to our attention that, as flagged in the VCAA response to the Heads, VCAA has issued “advice” on the implementation of changes for Year 11 in 2022, in preparation for the not-yet-existent 2023 study design. That advice can be viewed here (Word) on this page, and the advice is embedded below.
That’s it. We’ll be interested to read what people think. Standard rules apply: play the ball, not the man.
VCAA’s Implementation Advice for 2022 (original here)
Letter From Heads of Maths Network to VCAA (early August)
UPDATE (23/11/21) Angela Kotsiras, who coordinates the HoMN, has requested I take down this letter. She gave no reason for wanting the letter to be removed, simply noting that I had not been “given approval to do this”. This makes absolutely no sense to me, on any level, but I have obliged.
Reply From VCAA to Heads of Maths Network (late August)
On another post, John Friend has commented on VCAA’s “Advice” in the light of Cambridge’s Specialist 12 text. In the current study design, which officially applies to 2022, the Specialist 12 topics Logic and algebra and Graph theory are optional (pp 44-46). Presumably on the basis of that optionalness, and the strategic preference of most teachers to skip these topics, Cambridge made the decision to not include these topics in the print edition. As far as we are aware, Cambridge’s Logic chapter is currently only available through the online platform Cambridge Go, and the graph theory material is seemingly unavailable anywhere, although we understand the material exists. (06/01/22 – see the further update, below.) In any case, for various reasons many teachers and students will not have access to Cambridge Go, and thus will not have access to Cambridge material on either topic.
That is a big problem.
Through VCAA’s ineptness and pigheadedness, there is absolutely no sense in which Logic and algebra and Graph theory are optional for Specialist 12 in 2022. But, many teachers and students will not have access to the corresponding chapters of the vastly most popular textbook.* One can argue who is responsible for this screw up, but it is unarguably a screw up.
Of course if Cambridge gave a stuff about their customers they would now make their material on the “optional” topics freely available; we’ll see. And, of course, VCAA doesn’t give a stuff about anyone. Meanwhile, everyone can wait for the Heads of Mathematics Network to spring into inaction.
*) And deservedly most popular, since the Cambridge text is second rate, while the alternatives are fifth rate.
According to John Friend, the graph theory chapter is available on Cambridge Go, although this is not indicated on the textbook website. Also, John indicates that the all of the alternative, fifth rate texts include chapters on the optional content.
In a comment below, Red Five has attached his Boolean Logic Summary (15/01/22 – corrected version). And, in another comment, John Friend has provided his pretty detailed thoughts about Specialist 12 in the light of VCAA’s new and not-yet-existent study design. (Idiots …)
We’re more than happy to highlight and attach other notes and thoughts, from anyone who wishes to share.