Key Stage 4 Years 10/11
Year 10 (from September 2015)
From September 2015, Mathematics at KS4 is facing huge changes. Pupils will now have to complete 2 GCSE examinations – one in Mathematics and one in Numeracy. This development has been in response to views from businesses and employers, who are concerned with the everyday numerical skills of school leavers; because of this, the emphasis for these examinations, particularly the Numeracy examination, will be very much on problem-solving and applying mathematical skills.
Initially, pupils will sit both examinations in the May/June of year 11 (although the WJEC is now considering allowing pupils to sit one of the papers in the November of year 11, as is currently the case). After 2017, pupils will be allowed to sit one examination at the end of year 10, which will allow them the chance to re-sit this examination to improve their grade, and the other in November or the summer of year 11.
Both new examinations will be offered at three levels: Higher Tier (grades A* to C), Intermediate Tier (grades B to E) and Foundation tier (grades C/D to G – grade C will only be awarded to pupils who have performed exceptionally well). Assessment is by means of two written papers – Unit 1 (no calculator) and Unit 2 (with calculator). At Higher and Intermediate Tiers, the papers will be of 1 hour and 45 minutes duration and will each be worth 80 marks (50%). At Foundation Tier, the papers will be 1 hour and 30 minutes and be worth 65 marks (50%). The written papers for each tier will comprise a number of short and longer, both structured and unstructured questions which may be set on any part of the subject content of the specification. The pupils will study a number of topics to develop their numerical skills, which will cover the areas of number, algebra, space, shape and measure and handling data, and there will be an overlap of topics on the papers. The Numeracy papers will concentrate on number, measure and statistics, plus some aspects of algebra, geometry and probability, with an emphasis on the application of these in context. The Mathematics paper will include all the content of the Numeracy course, plus additional algebra, geometry and probability. Pupils will not have to sit the same tier in each GCSE examination.
Key Stage 4 Year 11
Year 11 and current year 10 pupils:
The pupils currently in years 10 and 11 will be the last cohort to sit the existing GCSE Mathematics examination with the WJEC. The examination is offered at two levels: Higher Tier (grades A* to D) and Foundation Tier (grades C to G). Assessment at each level is by means of two written papers – Paper 1 (without the use of a calculator) and Paper 2 (use of calculator allowed). At Higher Tier, the papers are of 2 hours duration, with those at Foundation Tier being 1 hour and 45 minutes. Pupils can be entered for the examination in either the November of year 11 or in the following May/June – this gives pupils the opportunity to re-sit the examination to improve their grade.
At each tier pupils study a number of topics to develop their numerical skills – these cover the areas of number, algebra, space, shape and measure and handling data. There is also a growing emphasis on developing pupils’ problem-solving and reasoning skills.