14 Aug 2018

Mathematics in Year 8 [August 2018]

Dear parent(s) of Year 8 students
The purpose of this e-letter is to provide you with some information about our class structure in Mathematics.  To give every student the opportunity to work and thrive in a comfortable environment with other students of a similar ability, we assign students accordingly in Mathematics.
We decide on the group for each student based on the class teacher’s knowledge of the student’s ability, the student’s work in Mathematics last year and the end of topic tests which the student sat throughout the year. The topics covered this year will be broadly the same in each group, but some groups will go into more detail and extend the work, while others will concentrate more on basic ideas, and will omit some of the more abstract topics. The purpose of this e-letter is to provide you with some information about our grouping structure.
Year 8 group Structure 2018 – 2019
Extension class:           08MA101 / 103
Students in this group will follow our extended scheme of work, based on the Haese & Harris texts “Mathematics for the International Student” (Year 7 MYP 2 and Year 8 MYP 3). For details, please refer to  www.haeseandharris.com.au ISBN 978-1-876543-41-9 and 978-1-876543-35-8. We expect the students in these classes to cover the material at an accelerated pace and so we will enrich their learning in Mathematics by including more complex material and possibly some extra topics. There will be challenging extension work to stretch the more mathematically able students in these sets and the pace of work will mean that students will need to understand new ideas quickly.  Students in these sets will then proceed to IGCSE at the Extended level in Years 10 and 11.
Groups:           08MA102 / 107 / 104 / 105 (Mixed ability)
Students in these classes will also follow our extended scheme of work based on the same two Haese & Harris texts described above. These classes will cover the work at a steady pace and will be able to explore some extension material.  Students in these classes may go on to take either the Core or Extended IGCSE examination at the end of Year 11. This will depend on their progress throughout Years 8, 9 and 10, and a final decision will not be made until early in Year 11.
Growth group:            08MA106 / 108
Students in this Growth Group will follow the standard core course based mainly on the same Haese & Harris texts described above. This will be supported, where necessary, by other resources, to provide extra help for students who find this subject challenging at times. These classes are kept deliberately small to allow more teacher contact for students.  Most students in these sets are likely to proceed to IGCSE Core which has a maximum grade of C, in Years 10 and 11, although no final decision is made on this until Year 11.
Class changes:
Teachers informed students who are changing sets, and where they are going this academic year, beforethe end of last term.  New sets will be confirmed on Gateway.
We will assess students through regular tests throughout the year. Consequently, we will be able to see if any students are misplaced, and act accordingly. These results allow us to refine the setting process at the end of Year 8 so that students progress to a suitable class in Year 9.
Our aim in setting students is to find the class in which a student is most likely to succeed. There is flexibility in the system, and students can be moved at any time, when necessary. However, we prefer not to move students too much, favouring a stable teacher-student relationship, wherever possible.
Please note that students will require only a simple scientific calculator for Mathematics in Year 8 – Texas Instruments model TI-30XB Multiview or similar. They should already have this from Year 7; replacement calculators may be purchased from the stationery shop at school.
Yours faithfully,
Martin Astill
Head of Mathematics