Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

ACME's response to the Department for Education informal consultation on 'Core Maths'

03 March 2014

ACME was asked by the Department for Education to give some input to their informal consultation on the characteristics of 'Core Maths' qualifications and ACME's response can be found here.

The proposed characteristics of Level 3 'Core Maths' qualifications were set out in the Department for Education's policy statement. This policy statement responded to the report of ACME's independent Expert Panel on Core Mathematics (October 2013). ACME made some comments on the policy statement after the publication.

In general, the characteristics that are set out are consistent with the recommendations for post-16 mathematics qualifications and their implementation that ACME proposed in Post-16 mathematics: increasing provision and participation and Post-16 mathematics: planning for success  and the recommendations that the Expert Panel made.

However, there are some issues that ACME identified in its response.

  • The timescales outlined for the development of these qualifications are ambitious.
  • ACME believes that the proposed size of the qualification, that is half an A level, would be problematic and recommends a qualification that is two thirds of the size of an AS level qualification. 
  • With regard to content, ACME believes that new Level 3 post-16 qualifiations should give students that opportunity to develop and use their mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding from previous study and engage critically with mathematics by developing problem solving skills in realistic contexts. ACME thinks that only a very limited number of mathematical techniques found in existing Level 3 mathematics qualifications should be included and strongly recommends that calculus is not included.


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