AQA GCSE: Physics Without Physics

Last week England's largest exam board issued a Physics GCSE paper, aimed at our brightest youngsters, that required no mathematical calculations. Last year's GCSE Physics papers prompted the Qualifications and Curricculum Authority (QCA) to rule that Physics papers were not sufficiently challenging, but AQA has sunk to a new low.

The paper was the P3 Higher Tier one, so a series of conceptual deductions, calculations, simple algebra and graph interpretation would have been expected, but thousands of pupils were surprised by the disappearance from the exam of the bulk of what they had struggled to learn.

The anonymous quote about the three levels of Physics has finally become complete, officially:
There are three levels of Physics courses: Physics with calculus, Physics without calculus and Physics without Physics.
A paper made up from simplistic sequencing and qualitative statement questions is not suitable for bright or even average students, who were disappointed that they were not to be properly tested after all their rigorous preparation.

We need a new generation of scientists and engineers, but they will not be challenged or tempted by the new and 'accessable' Physics Without Physics GCSE courses on offer.

Who are these courses now aimed at? The maths-phobic or the future core of a technological society?

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