Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

This QIP refers to Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

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

This qualification helps students develop and demonstrate their project management skills and provides opportunities for extended writing, both of which are highly valued for progression to higher education and employment.

Students can tailor their project to fit their individual needs, choices and aspirations with the agreement of their centre.

The outcome of the project can be a design, performance, report, dissertation or artefact.

Education context

The EPQ is a standalone qualification and is often taken by students to in addition to their A level studies.

Around 30,000 students take an EPQ each year.

The EPQ also formed a mandatory part of the Level 3 Advanced and Progression Diplomas which were introduced in 2008 and are currently being withdrawn.

Awarding organisations
  • AQA
  • City & Guilds
  • OCR
  • VTCT
  • WJEC
Structure

The EPQ is a single component linear qualification.

Learners undertake their Extended Project in the context of a project topic they have selected, in agreement with the centre.

The outcome of the project can be a design, performance, report, dissertation or artefact.

The Extended Project at Level 3 provides learners with the opportunity to:

  • understand and use research skills
  • have a significant input to the choice and design of an Extended Project and take responsibility either for an individual task or for a defined task within a group project
  • develop and improve their own learning and performance as critical, reflective and independent learners
  • develop and apply decision-making and, where appropriate, problem solving skills
  • extend their planning, research, critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, evaluation and presentation skills
  • where appropriate, develop as e-confident learners and apply new technologies in their studies
  • develop and apply skills creatively, demonstrating initiative and enterprise
  • use their learning experiences to support their personal aspirations for further study and career development
  • transfer skills developed as part of the extended project to other areas of study
Subject areas

The subject content of the Extended Project is not prescribed as it focuses on developing skills.

These skills are summarised in the four learning outcomes:

  • Managing a project
  • Using resources
  • Developing and realising a project
  • Reviewing the project.

Examples of acceptable titles for Extended Projects can be found on awarding body websites

Levels
  • Level 3
Grading

A – E

Assessment

The extended project must be a single-unit, internally assessed qualification.

Learners need to produce a production log, verified by the supervisor, a written report, supplementary evidence and a presentation.

Learners will be assessed against four objectives:

AO1 Manage

Identify, design, plan and complete the individual project or task within a group project, applying organisation skills and strategies to meet stated objectives

AO2 Use resources

Obtain and select information from a range of sources, analyse data, apply relevantly and demonstrate understanding of any appropriate linkages, connections and complexities of their topic

AO3 Develop and realise

Select and use a range of skills, including new technologies, to solve problems, to take decisions critically, creatively and flexibly, and to achieve planned outcomes

AO4 Review

Evaluate outcomes including own learning and performance. Select and use a range of communication skills and media to convey and present outcomes and conclusions

Mark grids are provided for each unit to demonstrate learner performance at three levels for each assessment outcome, and how marks may be allocated. In general terms, progression across the mark bands is characterised by increasing:

  • breadth and depth of understanding,
  • coherence, evaluation and analysis,
  • independence and originality.
Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Each assessment objective has a specified weighting:

  • AO1– 15-25%
  • AO2– 15-25%
  • AO3–35-45%
  • AO4–15-25%
Resit arrangements

As an internally assessed qualification, students may complete the component at a time that suits the centre.

Guided / notional learning hours
(as published on Ofqual register): 120 hours
Guided / notional learning hours notes

Approximately 50 hours taught time and 70 hours preparing for assessment.

UCAS Tariff points

Extended Project

Grade Points
A* 28
A 24
B 20
C 16
D 12
E 8
Key issues for UK HE admissions

Feedback from HEPs suggests that the skills that students develop as part of the EPQ are highly valued

Some HEPs signal this by adjusting their standard A level offer for certain courses to include the EPQ

Others use EPQ results in Confirmation and Clearing to distinguish between students who have the same A level results

A number of universities and colleges encourage applicants to refer to their project in the personal statement and interviews

EPQs are widely valued by universities and colleges making points-based offers

The EPQ is not widely available to learners

Timing of assessments and results

As internally assessed qualifications, students may complete their EPQ throughout the year.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Sep 2009
Reporting of results and certification information

Awarding organisations issue certificates at various points throughout the year.

Further information

Links to awarding organisation websites and specifications:

www.aqa.org.uk

www.cityandguilds.com

www.ocr.org.uk

www.edexcel.com

www.vtct.org.uk

www.wjec.co.uk