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Post-16 GCSE

A new maths GCSE curriculum for post-16 resit students

A one-year project funded by the Nuffield Foundation


MEI is currently working in consultation with key stakeholders to develop a new curriculum in maths for post-16 GCSE resit students that has a greater emphasis on applying maths in realistic contexts. This will be followed by a small-scale study to assess the suitability of the curriculum as a basis for an alternative to the existing GCSE Mathematics.

The aim of project is to start a fresh consideration of appropriate mathematical content and qualifications for GCSE resit students, in line with the recommendations of the Smith review. The aim is to improve outcomes for young people, and the wider population, by improving knowledge of, and attitudes towards, maths.

In England, young people aged 16-18 who have not achieved grade 4 or higher in GCSE Mathematics are required to continue to work towards achieving it, and those studying full-time who achieved grade 3 are required to resit it. This often results in young people lacking confidence in maths and the prospect of ‘more of the same’ can be very de-motivating. The resit success rate is also very low - over 170,000 young people resat GCSE Mathematics in the summer of 2018, but only 23.7% achieved at least a grade 4 or equivalent. As a result, many young people do not achieve their full potential and can be left with a lasting sense of failure and a reinforced negative attitude towards maths. This may prevent them from engaging with learning and using maths in the future.

The standard GCSE Mathematics curriculum, which is designed for 14-16 year olds, attempts to do two things: prepare students for further academic study of maths, and develop the knowledge and skills to apply maths to practical problems encountered in the workplace and other aspects of life. Most resit students need to focus on the latter.

The project will involve:

  • Reviewing existing GCSE standard qualifications which focus on numeracy and applications of maths
  • Reviewing relevant research
  • Drafting exemplar resources which illustrate the kind of maths the target students would gain most benefit from learning
  • Drafting an outline curriculum
  • Drafting exemplar examination papers
  • Consulting teachers and employers on the proposals
  • Reporting the findings, due towards the end of 2019.

 

The project is being funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The Nuffield Foundation is an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social wellbeing in the widest sense. It funds research and innovation in education and social policy and also works to build capacity in education, science and social science research. The Nuffield Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. More information is available at www.nuffieldfoundation.org

Further information about the project is available in this joint MEI and Nuffield Foundation public statement.

 

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about the project, or if you would be willing to be consulted about our proposals as part of the project, contact Stella Dudzic.

 

Logo for Nuffield Foundation

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation

MEI’s support for GCSE resit teaching