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Below are the most frequently asked questions from teachers about the new Core Maths qualifications. If you have a question that you cannot find the answer to below, please email us at email@example.com, Tweet us @OCR_Maths, or call us on 01223 553998.
Core Maths is designed for post 16 students who have achieved grade C* or above in GCSE Maths, but who aren’t intending to study AS or A Level Maths.
They enable learners to strengthen and develop the mathematical knowledge and skills they have learnt at GCSE so that they can apply them to the problems that they will encounter in their other level 3 courses, further study, life and employment.
* Or equivalent grade under the new GCSE (9-1) Mathematics.
Core Maths is a descriptor for a range of different level 3 qualifications; it is not a qualification title.
OCR has two Core Maths qualifications; the Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning and the Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving.
The first exam series was June 2016 and the majority of learners that sat the first Core Maths qualifications were from 'early adopter' centres, hence a relatively small initial entry size.
Core Maths qualifications are designed to be the same size as an AS (at least 180 guided learning hours) and delivered over two years so that learners have both, continuous maths study up to the age of 18 and support for other level 3 qualifications which have a mathematical or statistical requirement.
Centres can opt to deliver them over one year, but they should be aware that the examination dates fall early in the exam series (usually in week 1 and 2).
Both of our Core Maths qualifications place emphasis on mathematical and statistical problem solving and the practical application of maths skills. The original vision for Core Maths was to address the needs of the following students:
We felt that a single Core Maths qualification could not meet the needs of all the students in this target group. As a result we have a choice of two qualifications with a common component. One is more statistical making it more suitable for academic students of sciences and social sciences. The other is more appropriate for students following a less specialised study path, focusing on everyday maths problems.
No two students are identical, and having two specifications allows us to produce qualifications that offer choice to centres in order to deliver the course that suits the particular needs of their students.
Component 01, Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning, is common to both specifications. Component 02 offers students the choice of a more statistical component of study or a more general problem solving option.
Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning has two 2 hour exams. Each paper counts for 50% of the final weighted mark.
Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning (01) – 72 marks
Content: modelling, statistics, finance, spreadsheets, working with graphs and gradients, working with exponentials, risk and estimation.
Critical Maths (02) – 60 marks
Content: strategies for problem solving, communicating and reflecting on solutions to problems, quantitative understanding of the world, Fermi estimation, probability estimation, fallacies in statistics and probability, statistical experiments and conditional probability.
Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving has two 2 hour exams. Each paper counts for 50% of the final weighted mark.
Statistical Problem Solving (02) – 60 marks
Content: problem analysis, data collection, process and presentation of data, the Normal distribution, hypothesis testing, correlation, reporting and interpretation.
No, both of our Core Maths qualifications are 100% externally assessed by examination.
Published in electronic form in September. Available to download from the qualification page.
Example: Pre-release material for the June 2018 exam series will be published in September 2016.
A printed copy of the pre-release material will be provided in the exam.
Some centres will teach component 01 first and then decide which pathway to take; Critical Maths or Statistical Problem Solving. Alternatively, some centres will see more benefit in teaching component 01 and 02 in tandem, deciding which of the Level 3 Certificates is most appropriate for their cohort from the outset.
There are links in content between components 01 and 02 and as both components are assessed at the end of the course it may be more advantageous to teach both components in parallel.
The 'curriculum planners' or schemes of work available on the OCR Core Maths qualification web pages are for the individual components. There are qualification schemes of work, combining delivery of both components on the MEI Integral website.
Yes. Learners are expected to be able to use a range of mathematical methods and techniques from the underlined and bold content of GCSE Maths (Foundation and Higher content) to find solutions to mathematical and non-mathematical problems.
Only a minimum of 20% of the overall assessment is based on more challenging mathematical concepts and techniques drawn from beyond GCSE.
Both the Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning and the Level 3 Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving are awarded on a scale of A, B, C, D and E.
The Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning common component (72 marks) plus one other component, either Critical Maths (60 marks) or Statistical Problem Solving (60 marks) combine to give a Core Maths qualification. Components 01 and 02 are equally weighted (i.e. worth 50%).
The overall qualification grade is calculated by adding together the marks for the first component (IQR) and their weighted marks for the second component to give their total weighted mark. Component 02 is scaled by a factor of 1.2.
This total weighted mark is then compared to the qualification level grade boundaries for the relevant exam series to determine the learner’s overall qualification grade.
Each of our qualifications have been awarded the following UCAS tariff:
Both of the Core Maths qualifications are:
Learners can retake the qualification. They must retake both components of the qualification.
All formulae which learners are required to know are either detailed in the specification content or should be known from GCSE. Any other formulae required will be given in the assessment.
A mathematical formulae and statistical tables booklet will be provided in the Statistical Problem Solving exam.
There is an expectation that students have used technology during their studies, including spreadsheets and scientific or graphical calculators. Component 01 will specifically assess the use of spreadsheets and spreadsheet formulae. Questions may include printouts from spreadsheets which learners will need to complete or interpret.
The use of calculators (scientific or graphical) will be assessed. Learners will be expected to decide when it is appropriate to use a calculator, recognising that calculations in authentic contexts are sometimes too complicated to be done without the use of a calculator.
Calculators can be used in all Core Maths exams, however some questions may ask learners to work without a calculator; in such cases no credit will be given for answers with insufficient working.
New models are released frequently so awarding bodies do not provide a list of permitted calculators. Instead, the rules regarding calculators are given in the JCQ's Instructions for Conducting Examinations.
No, both scientific and graphical calculators are allowed in the exams. However, you may find it useful to make use of graphical calculators or graphing software in the teaching of some of the content in the classroom.
There is no restriction on students using a graphical calculator in exams, but they must not include Computer Algebra Software (CAS) and must comply with the JCQ Instructions for Conducting Examinations.
A large resource package has been developed by MEI who worked with OCR on the development of both of the Core Maths qualifications. MEI have produced an extensive range of high quality resources tailored to the needs of learners, with a focus on supporting creative teaching approaches and progression for both of the Core Maths qualifications. MEI’s resources are continually being added to, and you can access these resources by logging directly into the secure part of the MEI Integral website.
You will first need to complete the online subscription form to gain access to these free resources. Once logged on, you will be able to download:
It is also possible to get student logins so that learners can also freely access the resources and practice assessments.
Free resources are available under the 'Teaching and learning resources' section of the Quantitative Reasoning and Quantitative Problem Solving qualification pages.
Amongst the various resource offerings you will find:
We will also be providing candidate style answers to exemplify different levels of candidate responses.
MEI are starting work on a textbook – initially the book will be written a chapter at a time and chapters will be uploaded online as a pdf to the Integral Core Maths resources. Eventually it may be published.
To access the chapters from MEI Integral website when they become available, centres will need to complete the online subscription form.
Upcoming courses can be booked on OCR's CPD Hub, where documents from past courses can also be downloaded.
We are currently promoting CPD for Core Maths for 2016/17, which includes a full day course, 'A guide to getting started with Core Maths' and two twilight live online training events, 'Linking Core Maths teaching to other subjects' and 'Using technology in the classroom'.
You can also download our free master class videos from the CPD Hub. Our master class videos are filmed in the classroom, delivered by teachers and provide great lesson ideas. Alternatively, you can also watch a selection of these videos on our OCR Core Maths YouTube playlist.
We also run online Q&A webinars for Core Maths throughout the year, where you can put questions directly to our Maths Team.
CPD is also available through the MEI website.
We have the following available for our Core Maths qualifications.
No grade boundaries have been provided for the SAMs or the practice papers produced by MEI as grade boundaries are only valid when set by analysing the results of a full entry cohort who have completed the course against their prior attainment.
Grade boundaries are set by awarding bodies in collaboration with Ofqual, based on statistics including previous cohorts' performance in that qualification and on results data from candidates sitting the paper. As this information was not available, grade boundaries could not be determined confidently and attempts to set them could be more misleading than helpful.
However, when MEI designed the practice papers they worked on similar proportions to those used in AS mathematics so 40% would be an E and every 10% would add a grade, 50% (D), 60%(C) 70%(B), and 80%(A). Grade boundaries for the June 2016 series are provided on the OCR website.
Further information on June 2016 grade boundaries can be found in the document below.