Functional Maths Qualification 2010

Updated 19-Jul-2010

What is the standalone qualification?  For first teaching in 2010, AQA are offering a standalone Functional Maths qualification.  The specification was accredited in April 2010.  Here are some headline details: 

  • First teaching in 2010
  • First exam sitting in November 2010
  • 4 exam sittings per year: January, March, June and November
  • Only 1 paper at each Level, 1hr 3o minutes in length, calculator allowed
  • “Competency paper” of the Pilot exams has been dropped
  • In the new format, competency questions (questions testing basic maths knowledge) will be embedded with the functionality questions
  • Pass or Fail qualification
  • No need to pass Level 1 prior to taking Level 2

Click here for updates from AQA about Functional Maths, and click here for the Functional Maths specification

How does the new qualification compare to GCSE Maths? 

  • The maths in Level 1 Functional will go up to Grade F at GCSE, or National Curriculum Level 4
  • Pass at Level 1 Functional will earn 12.5 points
  • The maths in Level 2 Functional will go up to Grade D/C at GCSE, or National Curriculum Level 6
  • Pass at Level 2 Functional will earn 23 points
  • Functional Maths will no longer be a hurdle to Grade C at GCSE – that idea has been dropped

Why enter candidates for Functional Maths?  We’ve conducted several surveys and it looks like 60-70% of schools are intending to offer Functional Maths.  There seems to be genuine enthusiasm for teaching maths functionally.  This has outweighed the dropping of Functional as a hurdle to Grade C in GCSE.    Here’s one of our key findings: we asked teachers what factors might lead them to offering a Functional Maths course from 2010… 

  • 75% of respondents believed that learning Functional Maths is inherently useful for students
  • 55% said that the Functional Maths qualification will be a useful way of delivering the Functional Elements of the GCSE course
  • 29% believe that Functional Maths is likely to be an important part of the School Report Card
  • 56% said Functional Maths is important because it’s a necessary requirement for a full Diploma

See here for QCDA’s Functional Skills information, and here for the latest from Qfqual. 

What Resources will Longman be publishing?    

Wind power & formulae - sample Functional Maths spread. Click to enlarge.

  • NOW PUBLISHED – Student Book (£8.99, June 2010) covering Levels 1 & 2, filled with photos, newspaper cuttings, timetables, maps, charts and other realia to bring maths into the real world
  • ActiveTeach CD-ROM (£299, August 2010) shows the Student Book on-screen and comes packed with interactive resources including video clips, Grade Studio problem-solving activities, multilingual glossary and Examiner-Live audio files  
  • Teacher Guide & CD-ROM (£124.99, July 2010) covering Levels 1&2, including complete practice papers, guidance on how to use AQA data sheets, as well as lesson plans and schemes of work
  • NOW PUBLISHED – FREE Evaluation Pack (£0, June 2010), which will contain a free copy of the Student Book, along with an evaluation guide, summarising the whole series. 

We are very excited about this qualification.  It offers a fantastic opportunity for students to gather some important life skills, and a great opportunity for us to help them. Our guiding philosophy is to make sure the functional maths is taught in engaging, real-world contexts, while the underlying maths structure of the resources are clear.  So we have chapters on choosing a mobile phone package, understanding credit card interest,  as well as later chapters on deforestation (volume and area)  and global warming (equations).  But equally important is the presentation of the maths.  The maths curriculum is covered in a logical order, and each chapter is sub-titled by mathematical topic.  So teachers can see at a glance how to integrate our resources with their own maths course. 

Practise the Maths: Formulae, Level 2. Click to enlarge.

We are also taking care of those teachers who are not integrating Functional within their GCSE course.  Each chapter contains a page spread of “Practise the Maths”, which gives students a recap of the basic maths needed for that chapter and a chance to practise the key techniques.  It’s no substitute for a full maths course (there’s no way of fitting that inside a Functional Maths book), but it will help build students’ confidence before they plunge into Functional. 

Click here to order your FREE Evaluation Pack.

  1. L Jebb
    December 1, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Could you tell me the rough passmark for level 1 and level 2 maths functional skills, please. I can’t seem to find any indication anywhere as to what % they need to pass!! It will help with preparation so that teachers and students can both decide if they are making progress!

    • domholdsworth
      December 2, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      During the Pilot, the passmark at both Levels was coming in at about 50%. No indication yet what the passmark is looking like for the November sitting – it’s being marked right now!

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