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Assessing mathematics within advanced school science qualifications

McAlinden, Mary; Noyes, Andrew


Mary McAlinden

Professor of Education


Following sustained discussion regarding the relationship between advanced mathematics and science learning in England, the Government has pursued a reform agenda in which mathematics is embedded in national, high stakes A-level science qualifications and their assessments for 18-year-olds. For example, A-level Chemistry must incorporate the assessment of relevant mathematics for at least 20% of the qualification. Other sciences have different mandated percentages. This embedding policy is running in parallel with an adding policy that is encouraging all young people to include the study of mathematics to 18. In this paper we present a detailed scrutiny of the published sample assessment materials in the new A-level Physics, Chemistry and Biology qualifications in order to consider what the impact of this policy move might be for the teaching and learning of mathematics, its applications in upper secondary school advanced science studies and the implications in the transition to mathematically-demanding undergraduate studies.


McAlinden, M., & Noyes, A. (2019). Assessing mathematics within advanced school science qualifications. Assessment in Education, 26(3), 340-355.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 16, 2017
Online Publication Date Apr 28, 2017
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Apr 19, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 29, 2018
Journal Assessment in Education
Print ISSN 0969-594X
Electronic ISSN 1465-329X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 3
Pages 340-355
Keywords Mathematics, Science, A-levels, Assessment, Qualifications, Transition
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Assessment in Education on 28 April 2017, available online:
Contract Date Apr 19, 2017


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