The maths subjects turning A students into Ds
PARENTS say their kids are "stressed to the max" over the new maths subjects being rolled out for senior high school students, with claims their "A" students are now receiving Cs and Ds.
As school returns this week, some parents have claimed their kids are being left disadvantaged by the new syllabus, which has been described as too hard.
This year Year 11 high school kids have started the new QCE system which will see the OP score abandoned in favour of an ATAR ranking at the end of their schooling from 2020, to bring Queensland in line with other states.
The transition has also meant changes to key subjects such as maths, including altered syllabuses.
But multiple parents from various schools have told The Courier-Mail their kids were panicking after one semester of the new system.
A mother of one student said her child had previously liked maths, but had told her they were struggling to fully understand the work this year.
"(Her child) had no problem getting As and Bs the past couple of years, but now that's not the case," she said.
"I've had to sign them up for outside tutoring for the rest of the year because (they) have spent most of the holidays stressed to the max."
Another mother said their son was worried about his maths scores, and that he had become a "C student".
"Within a few weeks of the school year starting he told me the work they were doing was much more difficult, and his friends were also finding it much harder," she said.
"I would say he is a bit panicked, which is not like him at all when it comes to school.
"He's not getting the same results as he was used to and I know he is studying just as hard, much harder in fact.
"You have to wonder whether these group of kids are being disadvantaged compared to previous years."
Meanwhile external tutoring companies have said they have seen a spike in parents wanting extra help for their kids undertaking Year 11 subjects.
Full Spectrum Education founder and education director Ben Maher said the company had experienced "an influx" of enquiries and bookings.
He said the new maths subjects were different to those previously taught, and there had been a mixture of emotions surrounding the change from "optimism, anxiety, excitement and reservations".
"Timelines have been shortened across the syllabuses and the complexity has definitely increased," he said.
"There is a sense among some parents that they need to do it on their own."
But the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority said students often found the jump from Year 10 to Year 11 difficult.
QCAA chief executive Chris Rider said there were "many more similarities than differences between the content of the new and previous maths syllabuses" and the change had been relatively smooth.
"The step up from Year 10 to Year 11 in general is often challenging for students," he said.
"It's important that parents know that a student's results early in Year 11 don't count towards their final grade in a subject or ATAR calculations.
"Queensland's new senior maths syllabuses are based on nationally agreed content and standards, and were developed by working groups of teachers, academics and other experts.
"This approach ensures continuity with what students learnt in maths in primary and junior secondary - not just in Queensland but across the country."
Mr Rider also said schools had been well-supported to implement the new syllabus through an unprecedented professional development program.
"For maths teachers alone this included 70 face-to-face workshops, 10 online modules and about 150 teaching resources (and) regular statewide forums for principals and curriculum leaders," he said.
The Queensland Secondary Principals' Association president Mark Breckenridge echoed Mr Rider's comments on the transition from Year 10 to Year 11, and said it was not unusual for the first semester to be a stressful.
"My advice to parents who have concerns is go and talk directly with the school, and not to jump to any unnecessary conclusions," he said.
"The amount of planning (that has gone into the system) is the most significant in Queensland's curriculum history, and that's not to say that the work has stopped."
Mr Breckenridge said the change to the new system was one which had been broadly recognised as one which was necessary.
"There was a lot of consultation which went into this," he said.
"(This year) is a complex 12 months, schools and teachers at the moment are balancing Year 11s on one system, and Year 12s on another.
"I think schools are feeling confident in the work and effort they're putting in to make it work."