In short – what’s new in GCSE Maths 2016 (apart from the grading)?

In short – what’s new in GCSE Maths 2016 (apart from the grading)?

What does the overhaul of Maths GCSE now being implemented in the classroom boil down to for students, apart from their adjusting to a 9 -1 instead of A- F grading system?

This is my very short take on it.

Instead of a Foundation v Higher tier dichotomy, Maths departments and students must henceforth think in terms of a trichotomy or three-way split of ‘Standard’ (= Foundation), ‘Higher’ and ‘Highest’.

Differences between the tiers are defined, just as they were before, by adding on of topics. Topics indicated for the new Highest tier comprise those previously classed as A* – with a few added. This tier is intended to serve better those students likely to go on to A Level Maths.

The old divisions of Maths, previously four – ‘Number’, ‘Algebra’, ‘Geometry’, ‘Data’ – have been revised. The new divisions are six: ‘Number’, ‘Algebra’, ‘Ratio and proportion and rates of change’, ‘Geometry and measure’, ‘Probability’ and ‘Statistics’.  

‘Ratio and proportion etc’ was previously subsumed under ‘Number’ – and ‘Probability’ under ‘Data’. So these are not really additions – the aim is to give them more prominence.

For detail on this, the source document of authority to refer to is: “Mathematics GCSE subject content and assessment objectives” published online by the Department for Education. This comprehensively lists the topics, using underlining and bold to distinguish Higher topics from Highest.