Changes to Maths qualifications

21 June 2013
Qualifications for 16 year olds in the UK are about to change and it is important to examine these changes to consider both the benefits and the drawbacks for the pupils we teach. Listed below are some of the important changes with added commentary around our opinion of the change:
New Grading
(Positive +ve)
One of the most dramatic changes to maths examinations will be the change in the way that the exams are graded. No longer will we have grades running from A* down to G, now a number system of 8 down to 1 will be put in place.
One benefit of this change could be a decrease in focus on the c/d borderline pupils. Feedback we have heard is that some teachers believe that they will not be focusing on c/d borderline pupils after the change however they might now be focusing on the level 6/5 borderline pupils instead!
A second benefit of this change is that the current distribution of grades clusters around very few grades with the other grades being relatively redundant. The Create A Test team has always supported quotas for grades. Could this be a move towards quotas finally?
Still tiered
(Positive +ve)
We are glad that the exams are still going to be tiered. Pupils still need to be asked questions they can attempt and not have a paper full of too easy or too hard questions. One day we hope the adaptive testing we conduct here at Create A Test will make it into the formal examination system. This may unfortunately still be a long while away. 
Assessment by exam at end only
We know many teachers (and pupils) are glad to move away completely from any coursework or similar assessment in Mathematics. Quite often the coursework and assessment has not considered an appropriate and reliable way to assess pupils.
Talking to employers though they are looking for pupils to be able to use mathematics in practical situations often when using software. Learning these skills may require assessment other than a written end of course exam and this should be considered in the reform. 


How to find out more and how to get involved
Ofqual is running a series of events across the country you may want to attend one to get involved. 

The event details are:
2nd July – University of Manchester
5th July – Aston University Business School, Birmingham
11th July – Hotel Russell, London
12th July – Aston University Business School, Birmingham

To find To register please visit
To read more about changes click here
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