Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

ACME Invitation to comment on Draft Subject Criteria for Linked Pair GCSE

26 June 2008

ACME has been involved in ongoing discussions with DCSF, QCA and Ofqual about the purpose and role of GCSE Mathematics prior to QCA's statutory 3-month consultation on new GCSE criteria for Mathematics, English and ICT, including functional skills. QCA will point consultees towards the below information on the ACME website.

As recommended in the Smith Report (2004), the Government is committed to the development of a second Mathematics GCSE which it anticipates would be taken up by more than half of the KS4 cohort.  ACME's continued view is that the second GCSE should be accessible to at least two thirds of the KS4 cohort and this was made clear in its position statement on GCSE Mathematics published in February 2007, which linked attainment at KS3 Mathematics to entry to the second Mathematics GCSE.

Below is a PDF document that outlines draft criteria for GCSE 1 (Mathematics) and GCSE 2 (Mathematical Thinking) which have been developed by ACME at short notice, as well as a letter from Ofqual to the Minister of State for Schools and Learners outlining the principles that Ofqual will apply to judge GCSE Mathematics criteria before they can be accredited for wider use.

ACME would encourage all comments on both of these draft criteria to be copied to ACME will contribute to a mathematics community response to the criteria over the summer period led by the Joint Mathematical Council of the UK ( and hopes that this will also engage with other subject communities through the Council for Subject Associations and other appropriate vehicles. One of its purposes will be to answer the following key question: "When and how should the new GCSEs in Mathematics be rolled out nationally? Jointly or staged, and in 2010 or 2011?"

ACME maths criteria and Ofqual response

ACME looks to be reassured at the end of the statutory consultation period that:

  • QCA has genuinely welcomed an appropriately weighted range of views on the possible distinction and refinement of GCSE Mathematics criteria, whether along the lines proposed by ACME or not;
  • Ofqual will make an independent assessment of the views expressed on GCSE Mathematics criteria, before final advice goes to Ministers on the risks associated with Awarding Bodies using two separate sets of differentiated GCSE Mathematics criteria, as is currently happening in a number of pilots;
  • ACME will continue to be consulted by DCSF, QCA and Ofqual on this important issue that will have an impact on mathematics progression within 14-19 education.

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