News & Events
Maths GCSE changes
- April 3, 2017
- Posted by: Maths Monster
- Category: Maths
How is the new Maths GCSE different?
There has been a lot of discussion on the new maths GCSE grading system which was taught for the first time starting last year and will be first examined next year.
The new grades will be 9 – 1. There isn`t a direct mapping to the current grades. For example 9 is the top grade and is equivalent to A*+ and grade 4 being equivalent to a C- and 5 a C+.
There are changes in the exam structure too, with a move from two to three exams with more formulae to remember. There will be more problem solving questions and there will be an increase in difficulty in the foundation questions.
Maths is the only subject to retain tiering with grades 1 – 5 that can be achieved on foundation and grades 5 – 9 on higher. One question that will be scrutinized over the coming years, is whether it is “easier” to achieve a grade 5 on foundation or higher.
There is some new content across foundation and higher although these are limited:
- Venn diagrams similar to current AS.
- Knowledge of exact values of the trigonometric ratios for 30o, 45o and 60o
- Newton’s laws of motion to apply in the higher tier only. Formulae provided.
- More formulae to learn for both tiers.
- Some content has been moved from higher to foundation, presumably to make way for the additional syllabus content and specifically to allow questions which distinguish at grades 8 and 9. The result is that the foundation paper is harder.
The current plan for re-sits is a phased one. Students sitting exams in 2017 and 2018 will need to to re-sit if they don`t achieve grade 4. Beyond this re-sits will be required for anyone not achieving a grade 5. However, for post-16 education it may be that even for the first 2 years, that colleges may require students achieving a grade 4 to re-sit.
Previously, employers and further education establishments looked for a grade C at GCSE as a baseline standard. The question is what will be the new baseline with a grade 4 being roughly equivalent to a C- and grade 5 a C+. Based on the comments on re-sits above, I would expect employers to move towards seeing grade 5 as the baseline grade to achieve for the majority of employers. As always, there will be employers demanding higher grades and others not requiring a grade 5, Clearly a maths GCSE is only one part of a CV, albeit an important one and it`s certain to remain so.
Employers have mixed views on the new content and grading as you might expect, with nearly 1/3 of employers in a recent survey being confused about what the changes mean for them.
More news from Ofqual and others will follow on the changes over the coming months and if any of these are significant I will add a new article here.