Specifications & Support

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Ofqual postcard summaries   MEI have answers to some frequently asked questions about the new specifications of interest to all teachers.

Specifications and Specimen Papers

Use this Twitter List to see updates from all the exam boards. As you can see @Ofqual are making announcements about accredited specifications. And / or use this ‘mini-list’ for AQA, Edexcel and OCR Maths.

February 2017: Ofqual Blog on A Levels and GCSEs:
Grade Boundaries: the problems with predictions

Ofqual March Update: (See Section 6)
Ofqual March

From MEI comes this excellent presentation relevant for any new specification whichever examination board. A strength of this presentation is its clarity. Simple statements of fact are given in very clear language and as well as stating what we know we also have a very important reminder of what we don’t know!

Further references and reading
Note that the documents mentioned in the presentation above are included here.

From the Further Mathematics Support Programme:
2017 A Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics
This is really helpful – clear and simple statements. Note the link to the very helpful document on changes to AS/A Level Mathematics & Further Mathematics.

See also this comparison of the specifications from the different Examination Boards and Considerations for choosing a new specification.


MEI Scheme of Work

Also from MEI – look at this excellent scheme of work for the new specification. Each of the 43 units is based on a topic and includes a commentary of the underlying mathematics, a sample resource, a use of technology, links with other topics, common errors, opportunities for proof and  questions to promote mathematical thinking. The schemes of work is freely available.

These schemes of work are very clear indeed. For each unit of work you will find Specification References, Prior Knowledge including GCSE Specification References and Key Words. For each sub-unit you will find Objectives, Teaching Points, Opportunities for Reasoning / Problem Solving, Common Misconceptions / Examiner Report Quotes.

GCE AS and A Level Subject Content for Mathematics

GCE Subject Level Guidance from DfE, this guidance is intended to help awarding organisations understand how to comply with the GCE subject-level conditions and requirements for mathematics. The guidance includes further information on the use of Technology and large Data sets.

Further resources:
AQA Resources including a very useful Specification Summary. AQA have several very clear resources, see: Planning  Teaching and Assessment which includes the Specimen Papers and mark schemes.

Edexcel Specification & Sample Assessment Materials note the inclusion of a data set for AS and A Level.

Edexcel – Assessment support including mapping documents.

From OCR, specifications, specimen papers and other resources can all be downloaded here.
Note the option to download a zip file with the specifications and sample assessment materials.

Consultation outcome: AS and A level reform: regulations for Maths and Further Maths 

The A level mathematics working group report is a very valuable document and one I referred to in a presentation on GCSE Problem Solving – I do believe we should always look both backwards and forwards to inform our teaching; where have our students been and where are they going? I have also created a new version of the problem solving presentation: Problem Solving 16:19.


For each current school year group (2016-2017) – changes to GCSEs, AS and A Levels

New GCSE and AS & A2 courses for teaching September 2016

New A Level Maths courses – revised start date               BBC News Story