The GCSE mathematics linked pair (MLP) is a mathematics qualification that is currently being piloted.
The original idea stems from one of the recommendations made by by Professor Adrian Smith in Making Mathematics Count (2004) that consideration be given to redesigning GCSE mathematics as a double award, similar to English.
The Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) subsequently led on the development of the original proposal and the former Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) set up the pilot. The Department took policy responsibility for the qualification and the pilot in 2011.
There are two mathematics GCSEs in the MLP and they must be taken together.
The qualifications emphasise problem-solving, functionality and mathematical thinking. However each of the pair of qualifications is different:
The applications of mathematics GCSE is intended to assess skills relating to how mathematics is used to interpret, analyse and solve problems relating to a range of realistic contexts, including financial and statistical applications; place an additional emphasis on the interpretation of graphical information and the use of approximate methods.
The methods in mathematics GCSE is intended to assess powers of reasoning and logical deduction; assess fluent use of symbolisation and exact methods of solution; assess understanding of probability.
Students have been studying for the GCSE mathematics linked pair (MLP) since September 2010. This qualification is available between September 2010 and summer 2014 (with examinations available until September 2015).
In line with all other GCSEs there will be linear assessment for the two-year GCSE courses to be taught from September 2012.
Alphaplus Consultancy is evaluating the qualifications over the first two years under contract to the Department for Education and has published reports on their findings.
These qualifications meet the requirements of the national curriculum at key stage 4 and the regulators' criteria frameworks. Both elements of the GCSE Mathematics Linked pair must be taken to meet the performance measure, although a pass in either is sufficient.
You can find out more about the content of the syllabuses for the qualifications by contacting the mathematics subject teams at the awarding organisations offering the qualifications: AQA, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC.