Post-16 GCSE Maths, Fit for Purpose?


In our brave new world of increasing numeracy rates of young people, our Government has decided on ‘increasing’ the demand of GCSE maths.

This has seen a huge increase in students in Further Education having to study GCSE maths.

But has this ‘higher demand’ seen an improvement in the standard of maths from post-16 students.

NO! What has happened is the maths has become more of the abstract skills that these students already struggle with. All this means more disaffected students who feel like failures of the system.

We need to return to the idea of contextual maths for the majority of students, with greater understanding of the key skills required for most employment.

There needs to be a change in the whole system of assessing mathematical skills at 16+.

Does anyone remember the AQA level 1/2 certificates, with topics such as Finaincial management and data analysis; sounds similar to the specifications for Level 3 Core Maths, doesn’t it.

We should all be pushing for a Level 2 Core Maths as the qualification for Post-16 students and leave the GCSE to 16+ exams.

2 thoughts on “Post-16 GCSE Maths, Fit for Purpose?

  1. Thank you Kevin. Teaching normal distribution with level 3 core maths, I can demonstrate to them the progress that they are making using the normal distribution of their assessment results. This measure of progress will be particularly useful this year when we have to use the data that we have available to award the students a Centre Assessed Grade.


    1. Thank you Gavin.
      Yes, understanding how grades are calculated is something that not many teachers understand, let alone students.
      Understanding that they are being ranked into 9 groups according to a Normal Distribution would go some way to helping students understand that not everyone can get a Grade 4+ GCSE.


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