The Department for Education (DfE) describes 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 providers, such as universities, have pledged support for all approved applied general qualifications listed.
A* – E
As noted in 'Education Context' to be classified as an Applied General qualification, the qualification in question must meet certain criteria. This includes:
- a minimum of 40% external assessment
- a minimum of 60% mandatory core content
- an element of synoptic assessment
- there is a single resit opportunity
The above are the minimum requirements set out by the Department for Education. However, the application of these may differ by awarding organisation, therefore if providers require full assessment detail, they should review the specification of the individual qualification they are interested in.
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% in 2016, up from 5.8% in 2015.
There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Applied General qualifications that meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:
- These qualifications are fundamentally different to their predecessors, and likely to result in students developing different skills and aptitudes. HEPs should review their understanding of these qualifications to ensure it remains uptodate.
- The reformed qualifications include both external and synoptic assessment, as well as changes to resit processes. These changes are likely to result in fewer students passing the qualification. Equally, it is likely that grade distributions will change. In light of this, HEPs may wish to review their entry requirements, offer-making, and decision-making strategies in relation to these qualifications.
- The 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.
- A larger mandatory core means HEPs that require certain levels of achievement in particular units, or ask for specific units to satisfy subject knowledge requirements, should familiarise themselves with the new content specifications to ensure these requirements are still valid. It should be noted that not all students will be able choose their optional units, and these may be prescribed by the school or college, therefore HEPs should be cautious if requiring achievement in optional modules as part of their entry requirements, offer-making, and decision-making strategies.
Qualification specifications: Purpose Statement and Structure
Any other appropriate links: Detailed Delivery Guidance