The Royal Statistical Society welcomes the recent publication of the Ofqual Mathematical Skills Working Group report: The assessment of mathematical skills in AS/A level business and AS/A level psychology and has responded to Ofqual offering expertise on continuously improving standards of qualifications and assessments of statistical and data skills across the curriculum.
Sharon Witherspoon, RSS vice president for education and statistical literacy, wrote:
‘This Ofqual report is a welcome first step. We note, however, that it has been developed at a particular stage and time. We envisage a future with increasing focus and content on statistics and data in teaching practice and assessment across the curricula. This is essential to meet the needs of individual learners, employers and the economy.
We recommend that Ofqual see this publication as the first in a dynamic process: changing over time by building upon best practice; using statistical advice from experts to support the delivery of assessments; and helping teachers and students develop their statistical and data skills in a wide range of subjects.
We see the specified minimum per cent of assessment marks (10% of the total marks) of mathematical skills, notably statistics and data skills, and at a prescribed level (level 2 or above), for some reformed A levels, as a floor and not a ceiling. We would encourage moving this goal over time towards higher levels of teaching content and assessment of statistics and data skills to equip learners with the skills needed for further and higher education, employment and to compete in the global economy.’
The Society is pleased that the Ofqual report echoes the recommendations of the Royal Statistical Society and the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education report: Embedding Statistics at A level, and references the relevance and the importance of statistics and data skills. In the Society’s Data Manifesto, we call for data handling and quantitative skills to be integral parts of the curriculum. The Society has also recently launched a Special Interest Group in Teaching Statistics to promote good teaching and assessment practice.
We would be delighted to support Ofqual in any future work to provide expertise on how to continuously improve standards of qualifications and assessments of statistical and data skills across the curriculum.