ASDAN Applied Generals (interim-reformed)

Last updated
Last verified
The QIP covers all ASDAN Applied General (interim-reformed) Personal Effectiveness qualifications that do not meet the full requirements set by the Department for Education (DfE) and do not contribute towards performance measures from 2018.
  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • International

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 Level 3 Certificate of Personal Effectiveness is a substantial and wide-ranging qualification. Its purpose is to enable candidates to develop and demonstrate a range of personal, key, and employability skills, to broaden their experience and to manage their learning in a variety of real-life contexts.

It is therefore Applied General in nature, and aims to teach candidates to understand, take responsibility for, and learn from rich activities - rather than simply to experience them. Candidates are required to provide, through these activities, evidence of understanding and skills development against a set of standards. This quantifies and formalises their preparedness to progress into higher education, employment, vocational training, or apprenticeships.

The Level 3 Award of Personal Effectiveness is a smaller sized qualification with the same purpose as the Certificate described above. However, this qualification does not appear in the 16-19 performance tables.

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 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 they 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 ASDAN 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



B. Size



C. Recognition



D. Synoptic Assessment



E. External Assessment



F. Grading



G. Employer involvement (Tech Level Qualifications only)



H. Progression



I. Proven Track Record




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, as outlined in the table above.

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

Awarding organisation
Qualification codes
100/3560/6 (Certificate of Personal Effectiveness)
600/2771/3 (Award of Personal Effectiveness)

Certificate of Personal Effectiveness 

There are six assessment units, all of which are mandatory:

  • Introduction to working with others
  • Introduction to improving own learning and performance
  • Introduction to problem solving
  • Planning and carrying out a piece of research
  • Communicating through discussion (in a group) 
  • Planning and giving an oral presentation.

Award of Personal Effectiveness

There are seven assessment units, all of which are optional. Candidates must complete a minimum of three units from:

  • Team working
  • Planning and reviewing learning
  • Tackling problems
  • Research skills
  • Improving skills in preparing and presenting information
  • Learning through work experience
  • Career exploration.
Subject areas
  • Citizenship
  • Enrichment activities
  • Employability
  • 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.


Both the Award and the Certificate are Pass or Fail only.


Assessment for both the Award and the Certificate is via portfolio only.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

There are no grades; the portfolio is the only assessment component.

Resit arrangements

Portfolio may be resubmitted.

Guided/notional learning hours
Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (TQT: 200): 100 hours
Award of Personal Effectiveness (TQT: 90): 70 hours
UCAS Tariff points

ASDAN Award of Personal Effectiveness

Grade Points
P 8


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.

Applicants holding interim-reformed Applied General qualifications may not have had experience of external or synoptic assessment.

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:

  • 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 students 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.
Timing of assessments/results for learners

Portfolio moderation takes place at the request of the centre at least four weeks after a candidate's entry has been confirmed.

Results will be confirmed following portfolio moderation.

Qualification dates notes

This qualification is current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of the ASDAN Award of Personal Effectiveness are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

Read the full list of results available through ABL

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.

Successful candidates progress to a wide variety of HE courses or to employment destinations.

Further information