Essential Mathematics


Essential Mathematics is designed for a range of students, including those who are seeking to meet the SACE numeracy requirement, and students who are planning to pursue a career in a range of trades or vocational pathways. There is an emphasis on extending students' mathematical skills in ways that apply to practical problem-solving in everyday and workplace contexts, in flexible and resourceful ways.

Students who study Essential Mathematics in Stage 1 are unable to study a Mathematics course in Stage 2. Students intending to study Stage 2 General Mathematics must undertake 20 credits of General Mathematics at Stage 1.

Recommended background

Students in Stage 1 study one of three levels of Mathematics. A students Year 10 results and teachers recommendation should be considered when deciding which level to select.

A student working below standard (a D or E grade) in Year 10 Mathematics should select Essential Mathematics. Students working at standard (a C grade) may select General Mathematics or Essential Mathematics. Students working above standard (an A or B grade) can select General Mathematics, though should select Mathematical Methods if they have career aspirations that requires high level Mathematical knowledge.


The following topics provide the framework for learning in Stage 1 Essential Mathematics.

Semester 1

  • Calculations, Time and Ratio
  • Earning and Spending
  • Geometry

Semester 2

  • Data in Context
  • Measurement
  • Investing


Assessment at Stage 1 is school based.

Students demonstrate evidence of their learning through the following assessment types:

  • Mathematical Folios (investigations and research tasks)
  • Skills and Applications Tasks (topic tests)

Four assessment pieces are completed in each semester of Stage 1 Essential Mathematics.

Semester 1

  • Calculations, Time and Ratio assignment (SAT)
  • Geometry and Construction assignment (SAT)
  • Ratio and Scale investigation (IF)
  • Financial Mathematics investigation (IF)

Semester 2

  • Data in Context topic test (SAT)
  • Data in Context investigation (IF)
  • Measurement investigation (IF)
  • Investing topic test (SAT)

Stage 1 Essential Mathematics is assessed using two criteria:

  • Concepts and Techniques
    • This criterion assesses students knowledge and understanding of mathematical information and knowledge, their application of mathematical skills, gathering, representing and interpreting data and using technology to find solutions to practical problems.
  • Reasoning and Communication
    • This criterion assesses students ability to interpret mathematical results, their reasoning when drawing conclusions and ability to consider appropriateness of their solutions, correct use of mathematics notation, representations and information, and their communication of ideas and information.

A Course Overview, outlining the specific criteria assessed for each task, can be provided upon request.

Successful completion of this subject leads to: students receiving their SACE Numeracy credits. There are no Mathematics courses available at Stage 2 for students who study Essential Mathematics in Stage 1.

SACE requires all students to achieve a C grade or higher in one semester of any Mathematics course in Stage 1. Students who are successful have the option to choose to select an alternative elective in semester 2 or continue with a second semester of Mathematics. Students who are not successful must study a second semester of Mathematics