Response to Pearson’s decision to develop new AS and A-levels in Statistics

Today the British Academy, Academy of Social Sciences, Royal Statistical Society, Nuffield Foundation and Nesta welcomed the decision made by Pearson to develop new AS and A-level specifications in statistics for teaching from September 2017.

This follows a statement issued on 26th October by the same group, urging the AQA to reconsider its decision to abandon AS and A-Level Statistics.

The statement highlighted the importance of statistical skills to the UK economy in an increasingly data driven-age, citing figures from the Centre for Business and Economic Research which estimate that 58,000 jobs per year are likely to be created in the big data market place from 2012 onwards.

Commenting, Professor Sir Ian Diamond FBA FAcSS, Lead Fellow and Chair of the British Academy High-Level Strategy Group on Quantitative Skills, said:

“We warmly welcome the decision by Pearson to take on these qualifications. Statistics and data skills are crucial to government and business in an increasingly data-driven world and it is vital that we continue to offer a range of pathways for the study of statistics post-16. The challenge now will be to ensure that as many students as possible can benefit from the availability of these valuable and credible courses, supported by high quality teaching.

As the British Academy recommended in its report Count Us In, it is necessary to increase our efforts to transform the UK into a data-literate nation if we are serious about exploiting the potential of ‘big data’.

The recent decision by the exam board is very encouraging and will contribute to meeting that transformational challenge.”

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