In this third blog on the Functional Skills reforms following on from an introduction to the forthcoming changes and information about why is the choice of context so important we’ll take a look at the reformed Functional Skills maths qualifications, due to be taught from September 2019.
A fairly major change in the reformed Functional Skills maths is the requirement for each level to have a section of non-calculator assessment. Ofqual requires each level to be 75% calculator and 25% non-calculator.
Another Ofqual requirement is that the overall assessment length should be between 75min – 105min at Entry Level and 105min – 150min at Level 1/Level 2.
Also informing our structure was you! Teachers were telling us they’d like a simple structure, with similar timings from level to level. Bringing all of this together, the structure we came up with can be seen below.
The structure is simple, with the same timings for each Entry Level and the same at Level 1/Level 2. Overall timings are near the minimum allowed so students won’t have overly long assessment, but we have allowed a bit more time at each level to allow for students to check their work.
We know students often struggle without a calculator and so to help reduce student stress here, we have allowed a bit more time in the non-calculator papers.
The numbers of marks for calculator assessment and non-calculator assessment are in line with the required 75:25 split, however the timings have been adjusted slightly to give students slightly more time per mark when they’re without a calculator.
Content for the reformed qualifications was published by the Department for Education (DfE) in early 2018. One option for presenting this content to teachers would be to have copied and pasted the DfE statements straight into each Handbook.
We felt that the content could be presented in a more user-friendly way however, so we reworked the content into a grid structure, introducing new section headings and arranging content in rows, so that the progression through the levels and content differences can easily be seen.
Also included in each Handbook is a guide to the Command Words (e.g. ‘Complete…’ or ‘Write down…’) we’ll be using in our questions too, so you can familiarise your students with them in advance.
Download the handbooks to see the structure, the content grid and definitions of our command words.
There are a range of changes to the required content. Some content is completely new to Functional Skills. Some content from the legacy qualifications has now changed level in the reformed qualifications, so that it now needs to be known at lower levels.
To find out more about the changes, you can download our mapping guides and see how the new content maps to the legacy qualification, Adult Numeracy Core Curriculum and GCSE (9-1) Maths content.
There are lots more significant changes to the reformed functional skills qualifications, to hear more sign yourself up for one of our free webinars.
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Neil Ogden, OCR Maths Subject Advisor
Neil has worked in a variety of qualification lead roles at OCR for a number of years, having joined the Maths team in 2012. Neil led the development of the new GCSE (9-1) maths qualification (J560), worked on the recent developments of A Level Maths, Core Maths and Additional Maths, before working on the Functional Skills reform. When not working on qualification development, the majority of his time is currently spent supporting teachers delivering these qualifications, as well as regularly publishing to the @OCR_maths Twitter account.