Research and analysis

The independent evaluation of the pilot of the linked pair of GCSEs in mathematics (MLP): brief

This brief summarises the differences in learning maths using a single GCSE or 2 linked GSCEs.



This research was commissioned to evaluate the pilot of the linked pair of GCSEs in mathematics (MLP), which will run until December 2013. These research briefs summarise the interim findings from the fourth and fifth rounds of fieldwork.

The MLP qualifications are ‘methods in mathematics’ and ‘applications of mathematics’. The two qualifications together cover the entire key stage 4 programme of study (PoS) for mathematics and contain some additional content. Neither qualification by itself covers the full programme of study. A new single GCSE in mathematics was also developed for first teaching in September 2010 - the single qualification is ‘nested’ in the pair. Candidates are expected to be entered for either the single GCSE in mathematics or for both qualifications of the MLP.

The single GCSE and the pilot qualifications were developed with three aims: increasing engagement with and participation in mathematics at GCSE and beyond; enabling understanding of the relevance of mathematics; and offering opportunities to stretch and challenge all students. There were also specific additional aims for the MLP.


  • introduction
  • background to the pilot and evaluation focus
  • key findings
  • summary of findings
  • the appropriateness of the MLP qualifications for different cohorts of student and different centres
  • the effect of the MLP on student participation, student attainment and progression
  • the effect of the MLP qualifications on the teaching and learning of mathematics
  • the ‘value’ of the MLP qualifications over and above what is offered by the single GCSE