Core Maths Qualifications

Core Maths is a descriptor for a range of different level 3 qualifications; it is not a qualification title in itself.


Who are the qualifications for?

Core Maths qualifications are designed for students who have achieved a standard pass in GCSE Mathematics, but who do not intend to take AS/A level Mathematics. They enable learners to strengthen and develop the mathematical knowledge and skills they have learnt at GCSE so that they can apply them to the problems that they will encounter in their other level 3 courses, further study, life and employment.

These qualifications will be particularly useful for students studying subjects such as geography, business, chemistry, biology, sociology, and health and social care, giving learners the mathematical skills to tackle problems in a variety of authentic situations.

From 2016 these qualifications will count within the Technical Baccalaureate performance measure, and from 2017 they will also count within the proposed level 3 maths measure in 16-19 performance tables.


OCR(MEI) Core Maths qualifications

MEI and OCR have jointly developed two new qualifications designed to meet the Core Maths requirements; both are accredited for teaching from 2015 and have received DfE approval as Core Maths qualifications:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning (MEI)
  • Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving (MEI)

OCR and MEI offer support to teachers of these qualifications, including professional development and free teaching resources.


Comparing the two qualifications

Quantitative reasoning

Quantitative problem solving

Both include a introduction to Quantitative Reasoning component, which will consolidate and extend the mathematics learnt to date, and develop transferrable problem solving skills.

This includes the following content:

  • Use of spreadsheets
  • Modelling and estimation
  • Statistical problem solving - mainly with GCSE techniques
  • Financial problem solving- including percentages and foreign exchange
  • Exponential growth, standard form, logarithmic scales on graphs
  • Graphs and gradient as rate of change
  • Probability and risk

Quantitative Reasoning includes a Critical Maths component.

By considering possible solutions to authentic problems, learners will develop the reasoning, fluency and confidence to understand, question and work with quantitative information.

Quantitative Problem Solving includes a Statistical Problem Solving component.

By extending their understanding of statistical problem solving, learners will develop a powerful and confident approach to working with real data and interpreting their results.


Which students is each qualification designed for?

The qualifications have about 60% of their content in common.  Each has been designed by considering the mathematical demands of citizenship, work and further study.  They are suitable for a wide range of level 3 students – both for those who are taking A levels and for those taking vocational courses.
Quantitative Reasoning is particularly suitable for journalism and politics and for citizens who want to understand better what journalists and politicians say.  Quantitative Problem Solving is particularly suitable for future students of psychology, geography and other subjects which make extensive use of statistical techniques.

Centres can start by teaching the common component: Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning and delay the final choice of which qualification to enter students for until part way through the course.


How to find out more

The OCR Core Maths playlist on You Tube has videos from the launch event which give information about the qualifications and also videos of Core Maths lessons so you can see how they work in the classroom.


What resources are available?

A growing set of  MEI resources for Core Maths is available to centres free of charge, thanks to sponsorship from OCR. MEI Critical Maths resources are also freely available, thanks to DfE funding. 


Is there a discussion forum for teachers?

By registering for the free MEI resources for Core Maths, you will be able to access the MEI Introduction to Quantitative Methods News Forum, where you can share and discuss ideas for using the Core Maths Resources.
On this forum there will also be discussions about the MEI/OCR Core Maths problems postcards that will be sent to centres by OCR and also given out at some events attended by MEI. You will need to register for the Core Maths resources to access the discussions.

If you would like to subscribe to the Core Maths resources for the academic year 2015-16, please complete the online subscription form.  This subscription is free of charge, will run until September 2016 and can be renewed free of charge after that.


What Professional Development is available for teaching Core Maths?

We offer a range of professional development for teachers starting to teach Core Maths of all specifications. Please visit our Core Maths CPD web page to find out more.


You may find these pages in other areas of our website useful:

Quantitative Methods
MEI news Item: Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning (MEI) and Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving (MEI) qualifications accredited for teaching from 2015
Resources for IQM and Level 3 Core Maths
Critical Maths: a mathematics-based thinking curriculum for Level 3
Free Critical Maths Resources
February 2014 Monthly Maths: Curriculum Changes issue
February 2014 Monthly Maths Teaching and Learning Resource: It’s a Risk
October 2014 Monthly Maths: Problem Solving issue
October 2014 Monthly Maths Teaching and Learning Resource: Conference Highlights
MEI response to DfE informal consultation about characteristics of Core Maths qualifications (Mar 14)
MEI response to DfE consultation on Core math technical guidance (May 14)

You may also find these pages on OCR and other websites useful:

OCR News Item: OCR ahead on Core Maths 
Quantitative Methods
Quantitative Reasoning
Quantitative Problem Solving
The Core Maths Support Programme
Core maths technical guidance Consultation document
Technical Baccalaureate measure for 16- to 19-year-olds
DfE press release: Launch of new high-quality post-16 maths qualifications
View upcoming MEI professional development events and live webinars