Specifications that use this resource:

Summary of changes

Subject content

  • Number
  • Algebra
  • Ratio, proportion and rates of change
  • Geometry and measures
  • Probability
  • Statistics

Exam structure

Paper 1: non-calculator

Paper 2: calculator

Paper 3: calculator

What's assessed

  • Content from any part of the specification may be assessed

What's assessed

  • Content from any part of the specification may be assessed

What's assessed

  • Content from any part of the specification may be assessed

Assessment

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • written paper
  • 80 marks
  • 33⅓% of GCSE

Assessment

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • written paper
  • 80 marks
  • 33⅓% of GCSE

Assessment

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • written paper
  • 80 marks
  • 33⅓% of GCSE

Assessment

A mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper

Assessment

A mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper

Assessment

A mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper

Students will be required to answer all questions on all papers.

The assessment structure will be the same for both foundation and higher tiers.

Assessment objectives

All GCSEs in Mathematics will assess new Assessment Objectives that have been set by the Department for Education.

Assessment Objectives weighting AQA notes
F H

AO1

Use and apply standard techniques

Students should be able to:

  • accurately recall facts, terminology and definitions
  • use and interpret notation correctly
  • accurately carry out routine procedures or set tasks requiring multi-step solutions

50%

40%

This combines the current AO1 and AO2, which make up approximately 80% of current specifications. Questions will usually be straightforward, with the maths required being clear. Any use of context will be an aid to understanding.

AO2

Reason, interpret and communicate mathematically

Students should be able to:
  • make deductions, inferences and draw conclusions from mathematical information
  • construct chains of reasoning to achieve a given result
  • interpret and communicate information accurately
  • present arguments and proofs
  • assess the validity of an argument and critically evaluate a given way of presenting information
Where problems require candidates to 'use and apply standard techniques' or to independently 'solve problems' a proportion of those marks should be attributed to the corresponding Assessment objective.

25%

30%

Students will be required to present clear mathematical arguments in their response to questions.

The increased emphasis on reasoning, interpreting and communicating, well beyond that in the current specification, probably represents that most significant change in focus for the assessment objectives.

AO3

Solve problems within mathematics and in other contexts.

Students should be able to:
  • translate problems in mathematical or non-mathematical contexts into a process or a series of mathematical processes
  • make and use connections between different parts of mathematics
  • interpret results in the context of the given problem
  • evaluate methods used and results obtained
  • evaluate solutions to identify how they may have been affected by assumptions made
Where problems require candidates to 'use and apply standard techniques' or to 'reason, interpret and communicate mathematically' a proportion of those marks should be attributed to the corresponding assessment objective.

25%

30%

This assessment objective is similar to the current AO3, which makes up 20% of the current GCSE. Questions usually require students to develop and apply a strategy to solve a problem.

Some questions carrying this AO3 tariff may not challenge students of a higher ability, but are considered to be at the appropriate level of demand for their position within the paper.

The position of questions testing particular assessment objectives within a paper has been a key driver in how we propose to write them. The definition of standard, underlined, and bold type used below can be found on page 4 of the Department for Education's GCSE subject content and assessment objectives.

 

Position of questions in each paper

Tier

Earlier questions

Early/middle questions

Late middle/later questions

Foundation

Most questions will assess the DfE's "standard type" content, using an AO1 approach. Accessible questions with few words or contexts.

A continued emphasis on AO1 style questions, with few words or contexts. Some questions will test the DfE's underlined type, which explores additional foundation tier content.

Questions will focus on AO2 and AO3 approaches (interpretation, communication and problem solving), mainly assessing the standard type content. Towards the very end of the papers, there may be questions assessing the underlined content using AO2 and AO3.

Higher

Questions of a similar standard to those asked in the middle of the Foundation tier. The demand will be in line with the lowest requirements of Higher tier, and the emphasis will be on AO1.

Questions will focus on AO2 & AO3 approaches (interpretation, communication and problem solving), mainly assessing the DfE's standard type content, but with some questions assessing the underlined content as well.

Questions will focus on content that the DfE classify in bold type. This challenging content will usually be tested using an AO1 approach, straightforward and with little or no context. In the most demanding questions, this content may be assessed with the AO2/AO3 approach.

Subject content

The mathematical content of this specification is defined by the Department for Education's GCSE subject content and assessment objectives document. These requirements will apply to all Mathematics GCSEs offered by all exam boards for exams in June 2017 and onwards. The content is split into six areas: 

Number

Algebra

Ratio, proportion and rates of change

Geometry and measures

Probability

Statistics

  • Structure and calculation
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages
  • Measures and accuracy
  • Notation, vocabulary and manipulation
  • Graphs
  • Solving equations and inequalities
  • Sequences
  • Properties and constructions
  • Mensuration and calculation
  • Vectors
   

Subject area

Current

New

Number

F 35%

H 17%

F 25%

H 15%

Algebra

F 17%

H 35%

nMa : Ma*

2 : 1

1 : 2

nMa : Ma

No stipulation

F 20%

H 30%

Ratio, proportion and rates of change

F Subsumed in other areas

H Subsumed in other areas

F 25%

H 20%

Geometry and measures

F 28%

H 28%

F 15%

H 20%

Statistics and probability

F 20%

H 20%

F 15%

H 15%

*nMa = non manipulative algebra (eg pattern spotting)

Ma = manipulative algebra (eg solving equations)

Example of subject content

We have taken the Department for Education'sGCSE subject contentand translated it into a tabular format, in order to make sure you are clear on what content is required for each tier. An example of this, with our additional notes, is included below.

Foundation tier students can be assessed on any content from "basic foundation content" or "additional foundation content".

Higher tier students can be assessed on any content from foundation tier or higher tier.

Statistics

S1
Basic foundation content

Additional foundation content

Higher content only

  infer properties of populations or distributions from a sample, whilst knowing the limitations of sampling  
S2

Basic foundation content

Additional foundation content

Higher content only

interpret and construct tables, charts and diagrams, including frequency tables, bar charts, pie charts and pictograms for categorical data, vertical line charts for ungrouped discrete numerical data, and know their appropriate use

including tables and line graphs for time series data

 

Notes: including choosing suitable statistical diagrams.

S3

Basic foundation content

Additional foundation content

Higher content only

   construct and interpret diagrams for grouped discrete data and continuous data, ie histograms with equal and unequal class intervals and cumulative frequency graphs, and know their appropriate use
S4

Basic foundation content

Additional foundation content

Higher content only

interpret, analyse and compare the distributions of data sets from univariate empirical distributions through:

  
  • appropriate graphical representation involving discrete, continuous and grouped data
 
  • including box plots
  • appropriate measures of central tendency (median, mean, mode and modal class) and spread (range, including consideration of outliers)
 
  • including quartiles and inter-quartile range

Notes: students should know and understand the terms primary data, secondary data, discrete data and continuous data.

Changes to subject content

As the DfE document shows, a significant amount of content that was previously tested as part of the higher tier will now be assessed in the foundation tier. However, substantial content that will now form part of the new Key Stage 3 Programme of Study is also included within the GCSE content.

Example– Standard form is now assessed in the foundation tier.

50% of the foundation tier tests assessment objective 1 and is required to include:

  • accurate recall of facts, terminology and definitions
  • correct use and interpretation of notation
  • accurately carrying out routine procedures or set tasks requiring multi-step solutions.

As a consequence, there will be fewer straightforward, single-step, 1 or 2 mark questions, involving routine procedures.

Example

Current specification

  • (1)(a) name shape A
  • (1)(b) measure the perimeter of shape A

New specification

  • (1) measure the perimeter of the rectangle

Summary of changes

Key timeline:

May 2014

AQA submit draft specification – this will be published on our website

Summer 2014

Ofqual accredit AQA specification

September 2014

Launch activity for new specification – look out for meetings in your area

September 2015

First teaching

June 2017

First exams

Department for Education's requirements

Assessment time

Minimum of 4 ½ hours

Assessment type

Written papers only.

No controlled assessment or coursework.

Linear exams, no modularity. All exams must be taken in same exam series (eg Summer 2017)

Grading structure

1-9 with 9 the best grade.

Non-calculator assessment

33.33% to 50%

Subject Content

Defined within the Department for Education's Subject content and assessment guidancedocument.

Foundation tier:standard type & underlined type (not bold type)

Higher tier:standard, underlined and bold type.

Tiering

Foundation tier (graded 1-5)

Higher tier (graded 4-9)

Summary

We recognise the challenge that you will face in delivering this new qualification. Our aim is to produce a specification that meets the regulatory requirements, whilst still allowing mathematics to be taught in a way that allows students to appreciate how it underpins much of their everyday lives.

I appreciate that this is rooted in good teaching and learning, and our team are committed to providing support materials and resources that will be of genuine value in the classroom. The most popular resources on our free All About Mathswebsite are being expanded, along with a host of new materials.

Andrew Taylor – Head of Mathematics, AQA