The qualifications, which will be offered by five different exam boards, are as follows:
- City & Guilds - level 3 certificate in using and applying mathematics
- OCR - level 3 certificates in quantitative problem solving and in quantitative reasoning
- Pearson Edexcel - level 3 certificate in mathematics in context
- AQA - level 3 certificate in mathematical studies
- WJEC Eduqas - level 3 certificate in mathematics for work and life
The courses focus on the practical application of maths to real-world problems that are likely to be relevant to everyday life, such as how to calculate the value of a mortgage loan in any given future year. The qualifications are also designed to develop students’ understanding of statistics, financial maths and modelling, such as understanding investments and analysing trends in population growth.
The RSS has taken a keen interest in the development of core maths and has worked to ensure that the qualification requirements drive sufficient and valid practice of statistical skills. The Society has responded to government consultations about core maths development, and has also provided comment to the exam boards (our letters of comment are published on each of the exam boards’ websites).
Furthermore, RSS VP for education and statistical literacy, Neil Sheldon, was on the ACME Expert Group which initially produced the report on developing guidelines for the new qualification. ‘This is a major development in the school curriculum,’ he says. ‘Core mathematics is designed to help students develop highly-transferable and sought-after skills, including handling and understanding data. All young people – not just those studying mathematics at A level – should learn to work with data and gain skills that can be used throughout their life. We hope that all schools will offer Core Mathematics, so students, regardless of their intended career, are numerate and statistically literate.’