Alternative maths GCSE resit curriculum to be tested

The Nuffield Foundation has awarded about £60,000 in funding to Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) to investigate the feasibility of a new mathematics GCSE curriculum for post-16 resit students. Tes reports.

MEI will consult stakeholders from this month to develop a new curriculum for these students, most of whom resit at FE colleges. This will have a greater emphasis on applying maths in realistic contexts than the existing qualification. MEI will then carry out a small-scale study to test the suitability of this new curriculum. The project will report towards the end of 2019.

It is a condition of funding for colleges in England that students who achieved a grade 3 (or D) in maths or English GCSE should resit the qualification.

This controversial policy has led to a significant increase in the number of college students sitting GCSE exams. And of the over 170,000 young people resat their maths GCSE last summer, only 23.7 per cent achieved at least a grade 4 or equivalent.

This is not the first time an “adult GCSE” to better suit resit students has been suggested. In 2016, then apprenticeships and skills minister Rob Halfon said he was “open-minded” about proposals to create a modular “adult GCSE” in English and maths. This came after the idea was among recommendations made by Dame Sally Coates in her review of prison education published earlier that year.

Josh Hillman, director of education at the Nuffield Foundation, said: “Performance in GCSE maths has both immediate and long-term impact on the education, training and employment trajectories of 16-year-olds. Previous Nuffield Foundation funded research has found that students’ past experiences mean they lack both motivation and confidence when required to retake their maths GCSE, and the resit success rate remains stubbornly low.”

Charlie Stripp, chief executive of MEI, said: “These students need a different post-16 GCSE maths curriculum that can motivate them to develop fluency and confidence in the fundamental maths skills they need for everyday life and employment. MEI is delighted that the Nuffield Foundation has agreed to support our work to try to develop such a curriculum.”

Read more Alternative maths GCSE resit curriculum to be tested

Do you agree with this change in exam to make it more relevant to the students? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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