AS or GCE AS - reformed Welsh Government accredited (First awarded 2018)

First teaching 2017
First AS award 2018
First A level award 2019

This QIP refers to AS or GCE AS - reformed Welsh Government accredited first teaching 2017

Countries
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland (due to the qualification open market arrangement)
Purpose

The reformed Welsh government accredited AS assesses the first year of A level study and is also a stand-alone qualification in its own right.

This qualification encourages students to take a wider range of subjects in their first year of A level study, whilst allowing students to drop a subject and specialise further in the second year.

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 Welsh Government accredited AS and A levels will be available in some subjects in Wales and Northern Ireland (where the open qualifications market operates) from September 2015, with first AS exams being sat in 2016.

The introduction of the reformed Welsh Government accredited AS and A levels will be phased. A list of the subjects being reformed for first teaching from September 2015, see list of subject areas below.

For A levels designed to meet Welsh Government requirements, the AS will be retained as a contributory part (40%) of the A level assessment and as a standalone qualification.

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

* All current AS and A levels offered by AQA, CCEA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC in unreformed subjects.

* Reformed AS and A levels for first teaching September 2015 accredited by the Welsh Government and offered by WJEC.

Note that learners in Wales will be able to undertake AS qualifications from different parts of the UK in subjects where there is no specification designed to meet new Welsh Government requirements (see below list of subject areas).

Awarding organisation
  • WJEC
Structure

The reformed Welsh A levels are unitised qualifications, made up of Advanced Subsidiary (AS) units and A2 units.

The AS assesses the first year of the A level – usually two units – and is worth 40% of a full A level. Assessment within the AS is regarded as less demanding than that taken at the end of the second year of A level studies (known as the A2).

The proportion of mandatory / optional content varies across subject.

The Welsh Government has published qualification principles for AS and A levels to help ensure consistency across its reformed AS and A level qualifications

Subject areas
  • Mathematics
  • Further mathematics
  • Design and technology

Note that further subjects are to be confirmed.

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 taken during the second year of A level studies (known as the A2).

Grading

A – E

Assessment

Assessment opportunities for AS qualifications are available in May/June and candidates may take the opportunity to be assessed in stages or at the end of the course.

Assessment is generally by written external examination except where this is not appropriate.

Additionally, non-examination assessments, practical examination, portfolio assessment and coursework are used to assess those aspects of the course which are not suitable for assessment via a timed written examination.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Raw marks awarded in an exam are converted to a Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) to facilitate comparability across years in terms of the consistency of demand of the exam paper.

Hence, one year a candidate may need a minimum of 62 raw marks to get an A grade but another year a minimum of 64 marks may be required for an A grade.

For the majority of subjects, candidates take two AS assessment units which together have a total weighting of 40% UMS of the A level.

The contribution of external assessment to the total award is determined at subject level.

Grade boundaries for the AS are defined in relation to the total available UMS points to help ensure consistent understanding of requirements over time.

* A at AS requires 80% or more of available UMS

* B at AS requires 70% to 79% of available UMS

* C at AS requires 60% to 69% of available UMS

* D at AS requires 50% to 59% of available UMS

* E at AS requires 40% to 49% of available UMS

* U at AS if less than 40% of available UMS

Resit arrangements

Reformed Welsh Government accredited AS and A levels allow one resit of each assessment unit in May/June, with the best result counting towards the qualification.

Resits are limited to one per module; hence, students have one opportunity to resit their AS units within a standard two-year A level programme.

They can, however, resit either or both AS or A2 units in subsequent years (provided they have not previously resat that module).

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 Welsh Government AS and A levels will be phased.

Note that further subjects are to be confirmed.

Whilst both the AS and A level are Level 3 qualifications, assessment within the AS is regarded as less demanding than that taken during the second year of A level studies (known as the A2).

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.

AS levels accredited by Welsh Government have been designed so as to be equivalent in demand to those accredited by Ofqual.

Welsh and Northern Irish applicants will be more likely to apply to HE holding an AS qualification.

Timing of assessments and results

Reformed Welsh Government accredited AS qualifications will continue to be taken in May/June and results will continue to be made available mid-August.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Sep 2017 (Welsh Government newly reformed AS qualifications will be delivered from September 2015 as per listed 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 Qualifications Wales website which hosts qualification and subject level principles and rules published by the Welsh Government/ Qualifications Wales:

http://www.qualificationswales.org/

Link to WJEC website and specifications:

http://www.qualificationswales.org/

Note that learners in Wales will be able to undertake AS qualifications from different parts of the UK in subjects where there is no specification designed to meet new Welsh Government requirements. The specifications for these qualifications can be found on the individual awarding organisation websites.