AS or GCE AS - reformed Ofqual accredited (First awarded 2016)

First teaching 2015
First AS award 2016
First A level award 2017

This QIP refers to AS level or GCE AS - reformed Ofqual accredited first teaching 2015

Countries
  • England
  • Northern Ireland (due to the qualification open market arrangement)
  • Wales (where there is no specification designed to meet new Welsh Government requirements.)
Purpose

The purpose of the reformed Ofqual accredited A level, as set out in Ofqual’s Conditions of Recognition for GCE qualifications is as follows:

  • provide evidence of students’ achievements in an internationally comparable post-16 course of study that is a sub-set of A level content; 
  • enable students to broaden the range of subjects they study.
Education context

AS and A levels are the qualifications that the majority of young people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland use to gain entry to university.

The reformed Ofqual accredited AS and A levels will be available in some subjects in England and Northern Ireland (where the open qualifications market operates) from September 2015, with first A level exams being sat in 2017.

The introduction of reformed Ofqual accredited AS and A levels will be phased. A list of the subjects being reformed for first teaching from September 2015 is available below in the field for subject areas.

The following types of AS and A levels will be available for use in schools in England from September 2015:

  • All current AS and A levels offered by AQA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC in unreformed subjects.
  • Reformed AS and A levels for first teaching September 2015, accredited by Ofqual, and offered by AQA, OCR, Pearson and Eduqas.
  • As part of CCEA's withdrawal plan there is still a resist opportunity in England, and a cash-in opportunity possibly into summer 2016.

Note that learners in Wales will be able to undertake Ofqual accredited A level qualifications in subjects where there is no specification designed to meet new Welsh Government requirements.

Awarding organisations
  • AQA
  • Eduqas
  • OCR
  • Pearson Education Ltd
Structure

Reformed Ofqual accredited A levels are linear in their structure and are designed to be delivered over two-years with terminal exams and, in some cases, non-exam assessment.

The reformed Ofqual accredited AS, which can be co-taught alongside the A level, will no longer contribute towards the final A level grade. It will be a standalone qualification. Learners will be able to:

  • sit the AS examination during their A level programme of study and continue towards their final A level exam. The AS examination result does not contribute to the A level mark.
  • sit the AS examination and not continue with their studies.
  • not sit the AS examination and continue towards the final A level exam.
Subject areas
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • English language
  • English literature
  • English literature and language
  • Art and design
  • Business
  • Computer science
  • Economics
  • History
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
Levels
  • Level 3

Whilst both the AS and A level are Level 3 qualifications, assessment within the AS is regarded as less demanding than that of the A level.

Grading

A* – E

Assessment

Reformed Ofqual accredited A levels will be linear in their structure, with all assessment at the end of the qualification.

Learners will sit a terminal examination, and, in some cases, undertake non-exam assessment.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

In England and in other countries where Ofqual accredited A levels operate, the Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) process is being phased out and Ofqual will confirm new awarding arrangements in 2015.

The contribution of external assessment to the total award is determined at subject level. For example, in history, 80% of those marks are made available through assessments by examination; whereas, in art and design, 100% of those marks are made available through assessments by non-examination.

The reformed Ofqual accredited AS qualification is standalone and does not contribute to the final grade.

Resit arrangements

Resit arrangements are to be confirmed.

Guided / notional learning hours
180 hours
UCAS Tariff points

AS

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

The introduction of reformed Ofqual accredited AS and A levels will be phased. The subject timetable for AS and A level reform is as follows:

Note that further subjects are to be confirmed.

From 2015, revised Ofqual accredited science A levels (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) will include a separate result for the practical element of the qualification. This separate grade will be pass/fail.

The 2017 and 2018 admissions cycle will see large numbers of applicants applying to HE with a mixture of new and current AS and A levels due to the staggered reform timetable.

AS and A levels accredited in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will differ in terms of structure, content and assessment arrangements. Grading will remain the same.

Not all applicants will choose to study AS qualifications.

Ofqual accredited Science A levels will contain two grades. Any university that requires a practical grade should make this clear in their entry requirements.

Timing of assessments and results

Reformed Ofqual accredited A levels will continue to be taken in May or June and results will continue to be made available mid-August.

Qualification date
This is a current qualification. (Ofqual accredited AS qualifications in reformed subjects will be delivered from September 2015 as per list of subject areas.)
Reporting of results and certification information

Grade distributions by subject and total entries by subject are published by the Joint Council for Qualifications:

www.jcq.org.uk

Further information

Link to rules, regulations and guidance for the reformed A levels and AS qualifications (taught from September 2015) published by Ofqual:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/new-a-level-and-as-level-qual…

Links to awarding organisation websites and specifications:

www.aqa.org.uk

www.ocr.org.uk

www.edexcel.com

www.eduqas.co.uk