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SSAT and core mathematics

Nicola Garratt, Programme Manager SSAT, writes…

Elizabeth Truss announced in October that core mathematics qualifications will be introduced from September 2015: but what does this mean for our post-16 students?

At present around 50% of pupils do not continue with a mathematics qualification after they have been successful at GCSE and those that do continue to do A or AS level mathematics are generally the A and A* students at GCSE.

The new core mathematics qualifications will be suitable for students who achieve a B or C in GCSE maths and whom currently drop the subject afterwards, but will also be available for those with an A* and A grade who are not taking A or AS level mathematics.

The core mathematics qualifications will be level 3 qualifications accredited by Ofqual – designed to sit alongside current post-16 qualifications but distinct from A level and AS level mathematics. They will be suitable for students studying a wide range of subjects, including those taking vocational qualifications.

The Advisory Committee in Mathematics Education (ACME) has published guidelines on what the qualifications should cover – including topics such as statistics, probability, advanced calculation and modelling, and will develop students’ mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills.

A number of exam boards already have syllabi that cover some or all aspects of the qualification. The International Baccalaureate Organisation has already announced that an online version of its Mathematics Studies Standard Level Course is to be developed for students in post-16 education from September 2015. Universities and the CBI have responded favourably to the core mathematics proposals and will also be working with exam boards to formulate content and format for the qualifications.

What will this proposal mean for you and your school? The current consultation on 16-19 accountability proposes showing what proportion of students achieve level 3 maths qualifications. Your school sixth form could become involved in the preparations for teaching the new courses, with direct funding available for piloting and development.

To establish attitudes to and the demand for core mathematics qualifications and e-learning, SSAT is working with Outsell, Inc. who have produced a survey in which we invite you to participate. The survey will take no longer than ten minutes to complete and all participants will be entered into a prize draw with the chance to win one of five £75 Amazon gift cards. Click here to complete the survey.

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