Developing Curriculum Pathways in Mathematics - phase one

One of the main recommendations contained in Professor Adrian Smith's report, Making Mathematics Count1, advised that QCA and its regulatory partners commission curriculum and assessment development studies of various mathematics pathway models and approaches. The studies should lead to trialling, feedback, modification and an assessment of workload implications for students. The project would inform the selection of a preferred pathway model to form part of the reformed 14 - 19 structure in England and possible parallel developments in Wales and Northern Ireland.

The team at Leeds is working on the initial phase of the project, phase one, which involves development work in the following areas:

  • Curriculum pathways in mathematics for Entry level and levels 1, 2 and 3 of the national qualifications framework;
  • Assessment structures for each pathway;
  • Relationships to the statutory requirements for 14 - 16 year olds, accommodating changes to GCSE and GCE;
  • Relationships to the intended future diploma arrangements (see the recent government 14-19 White Paper2), with specific solutions to the problem of meeting future requirements for a core of functional mathematics;
  • Relationships to future curriculum and assessment arrangements;
  • An outline of how the variety of learners' needs and prior attainments are considered, with clarity about intended arrangements for both low-achieving students and students with high prior attainment;
  • An estimate of the proportion of students in each cohort that will take each pathway;
  • An outline of the teaching and learning time implications;
  • An indicative plan of the training implications for teachers if the proposed structure were to be introduced;
  • The views of:
    • The mathematics education community;
    • Educators who are not mathematicians;
    • Users.

Phase one of the project takes place between January 2005 and July 2006, with two interim reports required during the phase and one final report due at its end.

Small-scale trials of some curriculum components will begin in September 2006. Phases two and three will then follow and the overall project is expected to be completed in 2009.