Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

Towards Level 3 Mathematics in 2016

20 October 2009

ACME has today launched a paper designed to provoke discussion on the future of post-16 mathematics. Our paper is designed to stimulate debate not only within the mathematics community, but also across a range of other subject communities, employers and also universities.

The proposals in the paper focus on an expectation that all post-16 learners will study mathematics in a way which is appropriate for their individual learner needs. In order to support this, a set of three pathways will be created:

Pathway 1 - this is expected to provide the opportunity for all learners to keep alive and develop their mathematical learning. Those in this pathway are likely to follow progression routes which do not involve mathematics (such as arts degrees) but will help individuals develop mathematically as citizens, such as through a better understanding of statistics;

Pathway 2 - this is designed to suit those for whom mathematics forms a substantial but ancillary rather than central aspect of their focus of study, and may value mathematics primarily for its applications rather than an intrinsic interest in the subject. With a strong focus on contextualising mathematics through linkages to other subjects, this pathway is likely to rely on A-Levels in Use of Mathematics and Use of Statistics, as well as the Level 3 Free Standing Mathematics Qualifications (FSMQs).

Pathway 3 - this is intended to lead to degrees in mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, economics and social sciences courses and it is envisaged that the bulk of those currently taking A-Levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics would be in this pathway.

Our paper includes much more information, and also poses some questions. We are seeking views on these questions, but also on other issues that arise as a result of the proposals in the paper. ACME's aim is to digest the views we receive, which will help to shape a position statement in the spring 2010 on the issue of Level 3 mathematics. With a position statement, we will seek to influence government and opposition thinking.

You can find the full discussion paper here.

To feed in your views, please email ACME on acme@royalsociety.org. The deadline has been extended until MONDAY 11 JANUARY 2010.

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