Why is logarithm difficult for many students

Abitur in Brandenburg and Berlin : Offset: Trouble about the math exam

Criticism of the math Abi: Numerous students and teachers in Brandenburg have complained that the tasks that were set in the central written Abitur examination on May 3rd were too difficult. In addition, material is said to have been asked in some cases for which the students were not or not adequately prepared in class. Specifically, it is about a task in which the students had to calculate with natural logarithms.

A spokesman for Minister Günter Baaske (SPD) said that the Brandenburg Ministry of Education for the mathematics high school had received over 100 complaints. The ministry is currently examining the allegations and has sent a questionnaire to all schools with upper secondary schools. "We first have to find out how many schools have not taught logarithms and why not," said the spokesman.
After evaluating the feedback, it should be decided how to proceed. Students may need to retype the exam. Another possibility would be for a different standard to be applied in the assessment.

No complaints in Berlin so far

According to the Senate Education Administration, there have been no complaints about this year's Abitur exams in Berlin. However, only part of the tasks was the same for the Brandenburg and Berlin pupils - the Berlin pupils did not have to solve the logarithm task, for example.

According to the Ministry of Education in Brandenburg, logarithms have only been part of the curriculum since 2014. This may be the reason why they have not yet reached the teaching routine of all teachers. In addition, in Brandenburg mathematics is taught in the advanced course (which everyone must take) with only four hours per week, while in Berlin in the advanced course it is five hours per week. This fact is cited as a further argument that there was less time available for teaching the material and that the Brandenburg students were disadvantaged compared to the Berlin students - also with regard to the Abitur tasks that were the same in both countries.

According to headmaster Andreas Mohry from the Schiller-Gymnasium in Potsdam, the logarithm task for the high school graduates distorts the whole exam: "The panic loss of time due to a task that had never been calculated naturally had an impact on the entire test."

"Verbal encoding of the tasks"

Gabriele Schölzel, director of the Heinitz-Gymnasium in Rüdersdorf and chairwoman of the Brandenburg High School Director Association, points out another problem - the “verbal clauses of the tasks”. Many teachers and students found the formulations too difficult because terminology was chosen that the Brandenburg students are not used to. She has received feedback from school principals from all over Brandenburg, says Schölzel. Overall, the level of requirements of the examination was unexpectedly higher than in previous years.

This is also confirmed by the Brandenburg state school spokesman Johannes Sven Hänig. The 17-year-old from Senftenberg himself wrote his final exam in mathematics on May 3rd. “At my school we did deal with logarithms in class, but personally I also found the Abitur tasks difficult. More difficult than expected. "He argues that a different standard should be applied for the Brandenburg students when making corrections:" As the student representative, I certainly do not demand that we have to rewrite the exam. "

State parent spokesman Wolfgang Seelbach warned that learning content must be made more transparent in the future. "The students should know what exam content they need to prepare for."
The point of criticism that the Brandenburg students have less mathematics lessons than the Berlin students is superfluous from the 2018/19 school year. Then the country changes its advanced course system again and returns to two five-hour advanced courses. At the moment, students have to take five four-hour advanced courses.

Tasks did not come from the nationwide pool

Incidentally, the controversial logarithm task does not come from the joint task pool that has existed since this year and which all federal states can use. It was designed much more by a national team of experts.

There had also been trouble with the pool tasks: In April, burglars opened a school safe in Stuttgart, in which the Abitur tasks were stored. Some of the tasks should have occurred in the Berlin and Brandenburg mathematics high school diplomas. In the exam papers that had already been printed, the burnt questions were deleted and the substitute questions were placed on loose sheets of paper.

Abitur exams are still being written in Berlin and Brandenburg until May 19 - this Friday, for example, physics - and oral exams will take place from May 22. There are still rewriting appointments until the end of June, diplomas are available until July 7th.

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