Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

Expert panel presents guidelines on new core mathematics qualifications

08 October 2013

The Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) has welcomed a report today (8 October) from the expert panel on core mathematics, which builds upon ACME's previous work on post-16 mathematics qualifications. New qualifications need to be developed for the large number of students who are ready to progress beyond GCSE Mathematics. Over 200,000 students with GCSE Grade C in mathematics currently don't take a further course post-16, despite needing to understand and use mathematics in their further study, work and future lives.

The expert panel's report provides clear guidelines on the elements it believes are essential for these new qualifications, in order to support a wide range of students going into higher education, vocational training, business and industry. The report says that new mathematics qualifications should aim to build students' mathematical confidence, competence and fluency. As a result of studying these courses, students should be able to recognise and adopt common problem solving skills and strategies when using mathematics in real-life situations. ACME believes that these qualifications will motivate the many students who would otherwise not study mathematics, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they will need.

Chair of the expert panel and ACME member, Richard Browne, described the difference between the new qualifications and current qualifications on offer: 'The emphasis on using and understanding mathematics through modelling real situations, solving substantial problems and learning to interpret and communicate mathematics will make these courses unique.'

Prof. Stephen Sparks FRS, ACME Chair, 'Whatever path young people choose, they will face situations where they need to be competent and confident in dealing with numbers, data and graphs. These courses will give them the opportunity to work mathematically with authentic materials and resources and in a range of realistic contexts, outside of the world of mathematics. There needs to be support for these qualifications by Government, schools and colleges, higher education institutions and employers. Significant investment in teacher capacity is also required, both in teachers' professional development and, in view of the very substantial potential take up of the new qualifications, in the recruitment of new teachers.'




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