the development of 14-19 mathematics pathways

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The EMP Project has now finished. We would like to thank everybody who has been involved along the way.



The final (stage 8) report is now with QCDA. If you would like a copy of the executive summary please contact Andy Noyes at:



The stage 7 report has now been

approved and the full report
is available on request.




Evaluating Mathematics Pathways

The Evaluating Mathematics Pathways (EMP) project was an independent evaluation of the mathematics pathways pilots, conducted on behalf of QC(D)A. This project evaluated the manageability and impact of a range of proposed new 14-19 mathematics qualifications. The project was led by the School of Education at the University of Nottingham in collaboration with the Universities of Manchester and Sussex. The Project Directors were Professor Roger Murphy and Dr Andy Noyes, who are both based at the University of Nottingham.

Following the recommendations made in the Smith Inquiry report Making Mathematics Count (2004), QCA commissioned two teams to develop Pathway models for 14-19 mathematics in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. This Phase I of the Pathways project was completed in 2006. Subsequently, Phase II of the Pathways project has involved three awarding bodies (AQA, OCR and WJEC) in the trialling and piloting of specifications and assessments built around the Phase I models. The trials ran from 2006-7 and the piloting ran from 2007 until 2010. Several thousand students in hundreds of schools and colleges took part in these pilots, which include functional mathematics, two new GCSEs, GCE AS/2, Free Standing Mathematics Qualifications and Use of Mathematics courses.

The EMP project provided evidence regarding the extent to which the Pathway models address the concerns raised in Making Mathematics Count. Two of the main questions we were seeking to answer were:

  • What is the likely impact of the proposed qualifications on take up of mathematics at all NQF/QCF levels, particularly post-16, including candidate engagement and confidence?
  • Do the benefits of a new system lead to sufficient gains which justify replacing current provision?

In order to collect a good evidence base the EMP project team approached a wide range of individuals, organisations, schools and colleges to assist with this evaluation.

Further details about the project can be obtained by contacting Andy Noyes.