Curriculum and Assessment

The Royal Society Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) has developed four curriculum Expert Panels spanning different phases of education:

  • Early years and primary
  • GCSE and key stage 3
  • A levels
  • Post-16 mathematics pathways

These Expert Panels have the dual role of identifying and responding to current mathematics education policy issues as well as preparing for a future curriculum review.

The Expert Panels are a joint venture between the Royal Society, Royal Statistical Society, London Mathematical Society and the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications. They have been created with the aim of developing a more cohesive voice of the mathematics community in the policy arena.

Recent RS ACME work in this area:

Previous RS ACME work in this area:

  • In preparation for the introduction of the new T level qualifications in 2020, RS ACME's post-16 expert panel developed a rationale for General Mathematical Competencies (GMCs) (PDF) designed to be embedded across the new courses.
    GMCs acknowledge the difficulties in transferring knowledge from one domain to another and are informed by, and sensitive to, research into the use of mathematics in workplaces. Importantly, they provide a common structure for all T Levels whilst allowing for adaptation to ensure student experiences in each T Level are authentic.

    The framework sets out ten GMCs:

    • Measuring with precision

    • Estimating, calculating and error spotting

    • Working with proportion

    • Using rules and formulae

    • Processing data

    • Understanding data and risk

    • Interpreting and representing with mathematical diagrams

    • Communicating using mathematics

    • Costing a project

    • Optimising work processes

  • Assessment - In 2016, the Society published Problem solving in mathematics: realising the vision through better assessment (PDF). It considers the assessment of problem solving in public tests and examinations across all key stages of mathematical development and describes the desirable characteristics of questions used to assess problem solving. It also sets out actions for policymakers, awarding organisations and the mathematics community to ensure that improvements in the quantity and quality of problem solving in mathematics tests and assessments are realised over time.
  • Curriculum - In 2014, the Royal Society and the Royal Statistical Society worked together on a project looking at the statistical content and assessment of a selection of A Level qualifications. The aim of the project was to investigate how statistics was embedded within these qualifications and to identify further steps to ensure that students gain statistical literacy as they move into higher education and employment. The report, Embedding Statistics at A level (PDF) was published in 2015.
  • Curriculum - In 2011, the Society published a report called Mathematical Needs (PDF) which analysed the mathematical content of a range of university courses and found that there was a marked discrepancy between the number of courses requiring mathematical skills beyond GCSE and the number of people with these skills that the UK is producing.