Higher education practitioners
The following FAQs are based on queries from HEPs and will be particularly useful for admissions practitioners.
GCSEs in mathematics
Q: Is GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy a double award?
A: GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy are two separate qualifications. They are significantly different from both the previous GCSE Mathematics qualifications, and each other, with each assessing different content and skills. The vast majority of learners in Wales will take both.
Q: Are GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy half GCSEs?
A: GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy are both full GCSEs, of the same size and demand.
Q: Can someone who passes GCSE Mathematics be expected to pass GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy easily?
A: Not necessarily; the assessment focus and contexts are different and applicants may do better in GCSE Mathematics than in GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy or vice versa.
Q: Will learners from Wales be expected to achieve both GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy?
A: Most learners are expected to take both GCSEs, especially those who are likely to go on to HE.
Q: Which of the new GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy qualifications should we require for entry to courses?
A: This is likely to vary from course to course. Both new GCSEs will be of equal demand and rigour, but each assesses different content and skills: GCSE in Mathematics-Numeracy will assess the mathematics that learners will need in their everyday lives, in the world of work, and in other general curriculum areas. GCSE Mathematics, on the other hand, will extend to aspects of mathematics needed for progression to scientific, technical or further mathematical study. The differences mean that not every candidate will get the same grade on both qualifications.
Q: We need a pass in GCSE Mathematics to fulfil our general minimum requirement for any degree scheme as evidence of general academic attainment and breadth; which GCSE Mathematics should we stipulate?
A: Our advice is that either GCSE Mathematics or GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy will be equally acceptable for this general purpose.
Q: We run very competitive courses and look for a certain specified number of very high grades, e.g. A* at GCSE to pre-screen applicants for further consideration. Which GCSE Mathematics should I count?
A: GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy are separate GCSEs with their own specifications and focus of assessment. They are comparable in demand and rigour, so either GCSE Mathematics or GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy should count.
Q: What should be the requirement for applicants for Science, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM subjects)? A: Currently many courses for STEM subjects require applicants to have gained a grade C or higher in GCSE Mathematics in addition to the required A levels.
Given its specific focus on the mathematics required for progression to scientific, technical or further mathematical study, we suggest that satisfactory completion of the GCSE Mathematics qualification alone would be sufficient, in combination with the appropriate A levels, or other qualifications, to meet course requirements, as is the case at present.
Q: We currently require GCSE Mathematics for progression to Social Sciences, e.g. Accounting, Economics, Psychology. Which GCSE Mathematics should I stipulate for applicants from Wales for these subjects?
A: Our advice is that there would be sufficient knowledge of relevant mathematical techniques and assurance of mathematical skills in either of the new mathematics GCSEs to meet the progression needs of these subjects. A: We would urge you to look at the specifications for both GCSEs to assist your decisions, but we recommend that you frame offers to include either GCSE Mathematics or GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy.
Q: What GCSE Mathematics requirements are needed for Initial Teacher Education and Training in Wales?
A: The Welsh Government has decided that the requirement for a grade B in Mathematics to enter ITET in Wales will continue to apply and will be satisfied by attainment of grade B in either GCSE Mathematics or Mathematics-Numeracy.
Q: Which GCSE will applicants need to fulfil the numeracy requirement of the Nursing and Midwifery Council in Wales for entry to their regulated degree schemes?
A: A grade A* to C in either GCSE Mathematics or GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy would meet the evidence requirements for numeracy. The regulated degree schemes are:
• Adult Nursing
• Child Nursing
• Mental Health Nursing
• Learning Disability Nursing
For further details of the content and structure of the new mathematics GCSEs, please see the specifications for both GCSEs on WJEC’s website at www.wjec.co.uk
Q: Is the Welsh Baccalaureate the same as the English Baccalaureate or the International Baccalaureate?
A: The Welsh Baccalaureate is entirely different from the English Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, French Baccalaureate or any other Baccalaureate. Please do not bracket them together as similar in your entry requirements.
Q: Is the Welsh Baccalaureate an alternative qualification to A levels in Wales?
A: All learners in Wales are expected to study the Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate alongside their A levels or equivalent qualifications. The Welsh Baccalaureate is part of mainstream education in Wales, not an alternative qualification.
Q: Should we view the Welsh Baccalaureate as an international qualification?
A: The Welsh Baccalaureate is a national qualification for Wales, and should therefore not be placed under International Qualifications.
Q: Is the Welsh Baccalaureate only available in Welsh?
A: The Welsh Baccalaureate can be studied through the medium of either English or Welsh.