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: noncalculator  Paper 2: calculator  Paper 3: calculator 

What's assessed
 What's assessed
 What's assessed

Assessment
 Assessment
 Assessment

Assessment A mix of question styles, from short, singlemark questions to multistep problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper  Assessment A mix of question styles, from short, singlemark questions to multistep problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper  Assessment A mix of question styles, from short, singlemark questions to multistep 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:
 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:
 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:
 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 




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
Basic foundation content  Additional foundation content  Higher content only 

infer properties of populations or distributions from a sample, whilst knowing the limitations of sampling 
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.
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 
Basic foundation content  Additional foundation content  Higher content only 

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

 


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 multistep solutions.
As a consequence, there will be fewer straightforward, singlestep, 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  19 with 9 the best grade. 
Noncalculator 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 15) Higher tier (graded 49) 
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