Core Maths is an umbrella term for a specific type of level 3 maths qualification, as defined by the government’s technical guidance.
These qualifications are equal in size to an AS level qualification and are graded A-E. They have the same number of UCAS tariff points as an AS level qualification, and are included in the government’s school/college performance tables and in the Technical Baccalaureate performance measures.
Core Maths is intended for students who have passed GCSE Mathematics at grade 4 or better, but who have not chosen to study AS or A level Mathematics. It is usually studied over a two-year period and can be taken alongside A levels or other qualifications, including vocational courses.
Studying Core Maths helps students develop their quantitative and problem-solving skills. This gives them confidence in understanding the mathematical content in other courses they are taking. It helps them become better informed citizens, able to make sense of the information they will be presented with in employment, further study or later life.
There are four different Core Maths qualifications:
- AQA Level 3 Certificate Mathematical Studies
- Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Certificate in Mathematics in Context
- OCR Level 3 Certificate in Core Maths A (MEI)
- OCR Level 3 Certificate in Core Maths B (MEI)
A comparison of different Core Maths specifications is available here.
They all focus on using and applying maths, and include ideas and skills that support maths in other courses, such as:
- interpreting solutions in the context of the problem
- understanding sources of error and bias when problem-solving
- working with data
- understanding risk and probability
- understanding variation in statistics
- using exponential functions to model growth and decay
Most Core Maths qualifications also include:
- percentage change
- interpretation of graphs
- financial maths
- using standard units
- Fermi estimation
- the Normal distribution
- correlation, knowing it does not imply causation
- making and evaluating assumptions when modelling or problem solving
Further information is available in the AMSP’s Core Maths factsheet.