The striking thing about the list of questions from mathematics GCSE examination papers used by Mark Wadsworth in his recent poll is... Well, first, here are the questions:
Write five thousand four hundred and twenty four in figuresIt's that none of them are maths questions, not even the one that involves rounding a number. They are questions that detect whether or not the examinee understands the notation we use for numbers. I suppose you could call them numeracy questions. The rounding question just establishes whether or not the student understands which of the figures are thousands and which are smaller and can therefore be replaced with zeros. As such it's similar to the following question, that is designed to find out whether the student knows that the third number along, counting from the right, is in the hundreds column. The first and last test whether the student can read out a number if they see it written in numerals, or write one down if it is dictated to them.
Write 41,980 to the nearest thousand
Write down the value of the 7 in the number 25,750
Write the number 7,180 in words
It's a form of very basic literacy - like testing whether or not a child knows their alphabet.
The GCSE is taken at the age of sixteen. These are questions that used to be given to children below the age of seven. It must be soul-destroying for any but the most remedial children to have to sit and answer these kinds of questions at the age of sixteen.