AQA Applied Generals (interim-reformed)

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The QIP covers all AQA Applied General (interim-reformed) qualifications that do not meet the full requirements set by the Department for Education (DfE) and do not contribute towards performance measures for 2018.

This qualification meets the interim-reformed requirements for 2016 and 2017 performance tables.

Countries
  • England
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
Purpose

The Department for Education (DfE) describe Applied General qualifications as follows:

Applied General qualifications are rigorous advanced (level 3) qualifications that allow 16 to 19 year old students to develop transferable knowledge and skills. They are for students who want to continue their education through applied learning. Applied general qualifications allow entry to a range of higher education courses, either by meeting the entry requirements in their own right or being accepted alongside and adding value to other qualifications at level 3 such as A levels. Higher education institutions, such as universities, have pledged support for all approved applied general qualifications listed.

The purpose of this qualification is to develop learners’ transferable knowledge and skills in enterprise, employability, and personal finance and to prepare them for further learning, training and employment.

This qualification enables students to:

  • acquire and develop a range of valuable transferable skills such as communication, team work and problem solving
  • develop an understanding of what it means to be enterprising
  • develop and apply their literacy and numeracy skills in real life contexts
  • practise independent learning, self-management and research skills
  • to help prepare them for employment, further or higher education

The Level 3 Certificate in Enterprise, Employability and Personal Finance was developed to give students a progression route from Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in Enterprise.

Education context

Some vocational qualifications offered at Level 3 have been reformed as a result of changes to school performance tables. Vocational qualifications must meet the criteria set by the Department for Education (DfE) in order to count towards school performance tables. These reforms mean that 91% of the Level 3 qualifications that previously counted towards school performance tables were removed from performance tables in 2016.

For accountability purposes, vocational qualifications are now be classified as:

  • Applied General qualifications: The purpose of these qualifications is to provide a broader vocational education. They ‘are designed for students wanting to continue their education through applied learning.’ These qualifications must meet a number of criteria, including endorsement by at least three universities and colleges.
  • Tech Level qualifications: The purpose of these qualifications is to lead to a ‘recognised occupation’. Examples provided by the DfE include engineering, accounting, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and IT. These qualifications must meet a number of criteria, including the endorsement of five employers registered at Companies House.

The reform to vocational qualifications is being conducted in two stages: an interim stage and full stage. Each of these stages introduced new criteria for vocational qualifications to meet in order to count towards school performance tables.

The first teaching of the qualifications reformed on an interim basis was from 2014 and these counted towards school performance tables in 2016. Only qualifications that meet the full criteria count towards performance tables from 2018. The qualifications listed in this QIP are classified as Applied General qualifications however do not meet the full criteria to count towards performance tables from 2018 in respect of content, assessment and grading. Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the performance tables, if the qualifications are approved for teaching by the Secretary of State under Section 96:

Read Section 96

The 2016/17 AQA Applied Generals meet the interim requirements set by the DfE and therefore may be offered in schools and colleges alongside the 2018 fully-reformed versions:

 

Interim Requirement (for qualifications counting in 2016 performance tables)

Full Requirement (for qualifications counting in 2018 performance tables)

A. Declared Purpose

X

X

B. Size

X

X

C. Recognition

X

X

D. Synoptic Assessment

 

X

E. External Assessment

 

X

F. Grading

 

X

G. Employer involvement (Technical Level Qualifications only)

 

X

H. Progression

 

X

I. Proven Track Record

 

X

 

As noted in the table above, the 2016 and 2018 versions of Applied General qualifications are fundamentally different.

For more information on the specific changes to 2018 Applied Generals, please refer to a reformed QIP. Please also see ‘Key issues for UK HE admissions’ for some additional considerations when assessing these qualifications.

Further information about Applied General qualifications, and the range of qualifications that meet the 2018 requirements, can be found on the DfE website.

Read more information on the DfE website


Regulation of Applied General and Tech Level qualifications

The regulation of Applied General and Tech Level qualifications delivered in England is the responsibility of Ofqual.

The regulatory approach undertaken for Applied General and Tech Level qualifications differs to A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification-level criteria for Applied Generals, as there are for GCSEs, AS and A levels currently.  Applied Generals is a category introduced by the Department for Education for accountability purposes rather than a specific type of regulated qualification.  To be included in the Applied General category, qualifications have to demonstrate particular features outlined in the table above.

Applied Generals must comply with Ofqual’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualification.

Awarding organisation
  • AQA
Qualification code
600/7269/6 (AQA Level 3 Certificate in Enterprise, Employability and Personal Finance)
Structure

The specification is linear in structure and is examined and assessed at the end of either a one or two-year study programme.

Subject areas
  • Enterprise
  • Employability
  • Personal finance
Levels
  • Level 3

Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.

Grading

A – E

Assessment

Learners sit a terminal external examination.

They also undertake an Enterprise project, which is internally assessed and externally moderated.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

External examination: 60% of Level 3 Certificate

Enterprise project: 40% of Level 3 Certificate

Resit arrangements

Component results remain available to count towards certification, whether or not they have already been used, as long as the specification is still valid.

Learners may resit a component any number of times within the shelf-life of the specification.

The best result for each component counts towards the final qualification.

Learners who wish to repeat a qualification may do so by resitting one or more components.

Guided/notional learning hours
AQA Level 3 Certificate in Enterprise, Employability and Personal Finance: 180 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

For comparison, an A level is 360 GLH

UCAS Tariff points

AQA Certificate in Enterprise, Employability and Personal Finance

Grade Points
A 20
B 16
C 12
D 10
E 6
Key issues for UK HE admissions

Applied General qualifications are advanced (Level 3) qualifications, mainly taken by 16-19 year old students who want to develop transferable knowledge and skills.

The popularity of Applied Generals has risen over recent years. The entry rate for the combined BTEC only and A level and BTEC groups was 6.0 per cent in 2016, up from 5.8 per cent in 2015.

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Applied General qualifications that do not meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • Applicants holding interim-reformed Applied General qualifications may not have had experience of external or synoptic assessment.
  • The fully-reformed and interim-reformed qualifications will be delivered by schools and colleges at the same time (see ‘Education context’). Therefore, HEPs may wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications.
  • The dual running of the qualification may result in applicants declaring the incorrect version within their application. UCAS will be working to support applicants and advisers in this area.
  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to the fully-reformed versions and likely to result in learners developing different skills and aptitudes. HEPs should review their understanding of these qualifications to ensure it remains up to date. HEPs may also wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications, and any differences should be clearly articulated.

Holders of this qualification will have experienced external examination assessment.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

The Enterprise project must be completed and sent for external moderation by mid-May.

The external examination is taken in late June.

The results are available mid-August.

Qualification dates notes

The final resit opportunity will be June 2017.

Reporting and certification information

The results of the AQA Level 3 Certificate in Enterprise, Employability and Personal Finance are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

Read the full list of results available through ABL

Certificates are issued in October.

Progression information

Applied General qualifications differ in size; some may meet the entry requirements for higher education in their own right in a related area and some may need to be offered in conjunction with other Level 3 qualifications, for instance A levels. In addition, some higher education courses may require specific levels of achievement in particular units or ask for additional qualifications to satisfy subject knowledge requirements.

This qualification develops transferable skills and is not designed to support direct entry to employment.

It is designed to help support entry to higher education if taken as part of a full Level 3 study programme.