Assessment Centre New Year Changes

Assessment centres for the Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship scheme will be starting in the new year and we’ve made some changes to the centres that we want to let you all know about, but don’t worry the essence of looking for key competencies over three activities is still there.

So what changes have been made? The presentation has been reduced from 5 minute to 90 seconds to answer the question “But WHY do I need to learn about…?” as this more accurately reflects the time a teacher would have available to answer an off-the-cuff question. Candidates still won’t be able to use a presentation to answer the question, but you can (if it helps) draw a diagram on a flip chart. Just remember to prepare your answer as though it has been asked by class in Year 9 and that it’s not the “ability” of the class but the key stage which is important. Crucially, when you attend don’t forget to bring along a single A4 page of no more than 350 words outline of your answer to leave with the assessor to help with the assessment process. If you do not bring this outline you will not be able to complete the assessment centre.

The topic for the discussion group has been changed to that used in over the last couple of years. Within your group you will discuss the answer to “You are a newly appointed second in a maths department with a specific brief to improve cross-curricular links. A key aim is to improve the visibility of maths in all subjects” To make sure that you’re fully prepared for the session, make sure that you’ve researched areas such as examples of cross curricular links, key outcomes you would want to see achieved, potential stumbling block and importantly how these blocks could be overcome. You could also draw upon any classroom experience to date and your knowledge of mathematics. You’ll need to distill your thoughts into a 90 second introduction to your answer, which you will also need to bring along on a single sheet of A4 (up to 350 words, just like for the presentation)

There will also be a 20 minute interview which will be held over the telephone or where possible by video conferencing. On the day of your assessment centre, the required IT for the interview will be provided. We know that this aspect of the assessment centre can be the most daunting for some, but please remember that it is there for the assessors to judge your personal qualities, motivation and enthusiasm to be a Maths Scholar and inspirational maths teacher. The questions you will be asked are:

  • How do you think a Scholarship can help you achieve the qualities required of an inspirational teacher?
  • What do you think are the qualities a future leader in mathematics education should have and how do you see yourself achieving them?
  • Why do you think mathematics should be compulsory in schools to GCSEs?
  • Great mathematicians, past and present, come from all over the world. With this in mind, which three mathematicians would you introduce your students to? You should include consideration of their contribution to mathematics, their relevance to school mathematics up to KS4 and their potential to be role models to you students.

If you’re sitting the maths exam (don’t worry if you’ve not been told about this, not every candidate has to sit the exam it is only for those undertaking an SKE or where there are queries about level of mathematics studied at degree level) then the test will last an hour and comprise of multiple choice questions at A level and 1st year undergraduate level covering topics taken from pure maths as well as mechanics and statistics.

We cannot provide you with past papers or specimen questions, however, we would like to encourage you to continue working on your SKE course (if applicable) and consider refreshing your knowledge in the following areas:

  • Linear algebra and matrices
  • Quadratics
  • Differentiation Mechanics: Changes in momentum; taking moments
  • Probability: Density functions; calculating expectation

On the day of the assessment centre, please ensure you have pens/pencils as these will not be provided for the exam, and calculators are not permitted.  We’re sorry but we don’t provide answers after the exam either.

Hopefully, this gives you an outline of what to expect on the day of the assessment centre. The team works hard to ensure that everyone who attends the assessment centre has a positive experience meeting others who have chosen the same career path and learn from their peers by talking, listening and networking. If we can help you prepare for the day in any other way, have a look at how we make the assessment centres accessible to all. We look forward to meeting you soon.