Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

Qualifications, assessment and accountability

What has changed?

The Government has made significant reforms to assessment and accountability for primary, secondary and 16-19 learners and to mathematics qualifications.

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If you would like to know more about ACME's advice on pre- and post-16 qualifications and assessment, you can find a summary on the page 'Mathematics to 18 for all'. Further information on GCSE Mathematics, AS/A level Mathematics and Further MathematicsCore Maths and Post-16 level 2 qualifications.



ACME's most recent report Problem solving in mathematics: realising the vision through better assessment was published in June 2016.

In the report, ACME:

- considers the assessment of problem solving in public tests and examinations across all key stages of mathematical development;

- describes the desirable characteristics of questions used to assess problem solving;

- sets out actions for policymakers, awarding organisations and the mathematics community to ensure that improvements in the quantity and quality of problem solving in mathematics tests and assessments are realised over time.





Assessment and accountability: The very welcome emphasis on reasoning and problem solving in the aims of the National Curriculum needs to be strongly reflected in the material developed for teaching and assessing primary children.

Improved models of assessment are urgently needed to avoid 'teaching to the test' and to ensure that tests measure maths thinking and understanding. These models should be developed and evaluated carefully by experts involved in developing a holistic maths curriculum across all phases of education.

High-stakes assessment, performance measures and the target culture can get in the way of developing mathematics skills and thinking.




Qualifications: Qualifications should encourage students to gain confidence and develop a positive attitude towards mathematics.

A clear and coherent suite of mathematics qualifications is needed to meet the needs and aspirations of all post-16 learners.

A multi stakeholder response is needed to signal the importance of the full range of mathematics qualifications.




Curriculum and qualification reform: Curriculum and qualification reform, including of assessment, should be undertaken by a known transparent body of experts that has access to a full range of relevant evidence and expertise.

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