Use of Level 2 English and Maths assessments for entry to NVQ3 Health and Social Care

Hi Guys, I would be interested on your thought please, how relevant are the level 2 tests to someone who is working as a carer in a healthcare setting, and wanting to study for the NVQ 3 in Health and Social Care. My understanding was that alot of the work is carried out through observations and some writen work. How is algebra or trigonometry relevant to caring for someone?

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Hi Ann, I can assure you that I didn't have to do trig in my Level 2. Algebra could be useful in working out an unknown quantity e.g. the amount of supplies needed. I have just been looking at a government report from 2007 on the topic which is based on a survey of successful NVQ students.  Of the respondents to the survey, the highest proportion of those giving "preparing for higher study" as their motivation for taking the course, were taking Health and Social Care courses.  So, maybe people in the subject area see a long career of studying combined with working in their professional field.  The report is at



Hi Ann,

As Jax mentioned, level 2 numeracy is based on the skills that are needed in daily life such as percentages, fractions, measures of length etc. Topics like algebra and trig have been stripped out of the functional skills curriculum as they are not deemed essential for most situations. Students still sit written exams - the tests are no longer multiple choice. Students are given marks for showing the method used and checking their workings. As it is a new exam process, I have only seen a few exam papers but the emphasis seems to be on problem solving.

Interestingly enough, I think we often use a bit of algebra, especially when shopping or cooking. Mostly we do this without using algebraic notation. Algebra helps students to develop problem solving skills. I guess the skill of the teacher is to teach numeracy in a way that will tie in with what the students are interested in or going on to study.


Thanks Jax and Theresa for your thoughts, do you know if there is any online access to level 2 numeracy and literacy tests, perhaps for practice purposes?

Hi Ann,

Functional skills numeracy is new to this academic year so there is only a limited amount of past exam papers available. I have been given 3 level 2 past papers from C and G and one of edexcel. I will email them to you. I expect that there will be similar resources for literacy too. There are many examples of the 'old' style numeracy papers available on-line (the multiple choice ones). I will email/print some for you. Most of my students are finding the level 2 functional practice tests fairly challenging.


Thanks Theresa that would be very helpful,

Why do you think your students are find the level 2 challenging? Is it that they are returners to education and their skills are rusty? Or is there an age issue, where skills were previously taugh in school in a different way to how they are delivered now, eg. methods used to get answers?

Hi Ann

I think it's a mixture of everything you said! Most of my students don't like writing down how they got to their solution and seem to almost expect to get full marks for writing a number on a bit of paper! I am working very hard to 'train' my students to write down the steps they have used clearly and to check their workings! It's a slow process!




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