Unit 1 Higher: Statistics and Number

This unit aims to test a student's understanding of statistical concepts and measures, defined in the specification as:

  • Data handling cycle
  • Data collection
  • Data presentation and analysis
  • Data interpretation
  • Probability.

For students to be able to work with such themes, their knowledge of statistics will need to be underpinned by an appreciation of fundamental number skills. This has been defined as:

  • Working with numbers and the number system
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages
  • Ratio and proportion
  • The language of algebra
  • Sequences, functions and graphs.

Within the assessment, these number skills will generally be tested within statistical contexts although some questions may only assess number skills.

Whilst the headings listed above are drawn from the specification, the interlinking nature of statistics means they are not necessarily suitable as teaching topics. For this reason, we have broken down Unit 1 content into nine teaching topics and provided guidance for each topic. Whilst there will still be inevitable overlap between the topics, following these in order will provide a complete and progressive route through the unit content.

The teaching topics are:

Detailed guidance at topic level suggests an estimated teaching time for each topic. Some teachers may first want to address the common number work that runs through all units, to provide students with the core number skills they need to address other areas of the specification.

For this unit, there is one specification reference that does not sit in any of the above topics, but teachers are advised to ensure students understand the concept:

N4.1 Distinguish the different roles played by letter symbols in algebra, using the correct notation.

In this unit, students only need to be able to appreciate that a letter, eg x, can be used to represent a number. 

Teachers should also be aware that the data handling cycle is not featured as a discrete topic but it is important that students:

  • gain some experience of working through the whole cycle with real data
  • get an opportunity to see how all the topics in this unit fit together holistically.

The content of this unit offers opportunities for assessing Maths in context and for students to select and apply their skills to realistic problems. Questions testing Assessment Objective 2 and Functional elements make up a significant proportion of this unit.

Within the Higher tier, learners deal with more challenging calculations and representations such as:

  • combining probabilities
  • producing and interpreting cumulative frequency diagrams and box plots.

This unit contains a high proportion of questions assessing the functional elements of Maths, placing statistical and number concepts in realistic contexts.