Large data set guidance

The AS and A-level Mathematics specifications require students to study a large data set during their course of study. More detail can be found in the DfE content document. The data set is chosen by each exam board, based on Ofqual guidance.

The current AQA large data set is taken from the Department for Transport (Transport Stock Vehicle Database) and can be found on the AQA website

The large data set in exams

The AS and A-level Mathematics exams will include questions or tasks that relate to the prescribed large data set, giving a material advantage to students who have studied it.

For example, in the specimen assessment materials students who had studied the large data set would have gained a material advantage through:

  • understanding the categories and sub-categories that the large data set uses
  • understanding how values in the large data set are rounded
  • knowledge of trends in the data
  • knowledge of outliers and other anomalies in the data.

The data set is too large to be taken into an exam but suitable extracts may be used in an exam question.

Studying the data set

We recommend using the large data set as a classroom tool to support teaching the statistics content of the specification. This will help students build the familiarity with the data set that will confer the material advantage in an exam and also familiarise them with working with and manipulating data.

We have created a tool to help you do this, which is an amended version of the large data set spreadsheet.

Download the spreadsheet

This tool enables you to examine some of the key features of the data in the classroom and set students activities to complete themselves.

The tool is designed to be easy to use and to save you time extracting data from the data set. Minimal knowledge of Excel is assumed.

Additional Guidance

We have also created some additional guidance documents to support you teaching the statistical content using the large data set.