A-Level maths standards lower compared to 1960s

According to research conducted by the University of Loughborough, students who achieve a B in A-level maths today would only have secured an E in the 1960s.

The researchers compared the level of mathematical knowledge needed to tackle today’s maths A-level papers to those from the 1960s and 1990s.

The report, which was published in the British Educational Research Journal, also outlined that standards have been more or less stable since the 1990s. The report follows major reforms to GCSEs and A-levels in England which were brought in last year, in a bid to make qualifications more rigorous, including the addition of new tougher GCSE maths courses.

Dr Ian Jones of the university's Mathematics Education Centre and author of the report said the study had been conducted amid ‘ongoing concern that maths A-levels are getting easier.’

He said: "Whilst our study does show a decline in standards between the 1960s and 1990s, there is no evidence to suggest there has been further decline in the last 20 years."

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesman said: ”We have introduced a new, more rigorous maths curriculum at GCSE and a gold standard A-level. The changes we have made will help tackle the grade inflation of the past.”

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