WJEC Applied Generals (reformed)

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The QIP covers all WJEC Applied General qualifications that meet the full requirements set by the Department for Education (DfE) and contribute towards performance measures from 2018.
Countries
  • England
  • Wales
Purpose

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.

WJEC Level 3 Diploma and Extended Diploma in Environmental Science

The purpose of these qualifications is to provide learners with the knowledge, understanding, and skills in scientific principles to enable them to progress to higher education or employment in areas related to environmental science. The qualifications require learners to apply biological, chemical, and physical principles to environmental issues, and to provide solutions to environmental problems.


WJEC Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Criminology

These qualifiations have been designed to provide learners with underpinning knowledge, understanding, and skills to progress to further study and training. The Certificate is designed to complement study in related subjects such as A level sociology, law and psychology, and provide an insight into the subject area with a view to further study or training in related subjects. It offers exciting and interesting experiences that focus learning for 16-19 year old learners and adult learners through applied learning, i.e. through the acquisition of knowledge and understanding in purposeful contexts linked to the criminal justice system.


WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition

This qualification has been designed to provide learners with underpinning knowledge, understanding, and skills to progress to further study and training. Through applied learning, learners acquire knowledge and understanding in purposeful contexts linked to the food production industry.


WJEC Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Medical Science 

The purpose of these qualifications is to provide learners with the knowledge, understanding, and skills in key scientific principles to support progression, to higher education or employment in areas of medical science, such as job roles in physiological sciences or clinical laboratory services. The qualification covers the key topic areas of health, physiology, and disease, as well as providing the opportunity to study the areas of pharmacology, physiological measurement, clinical testing, and medical research.


WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Statistical Problem Solving using Software

The purpose of this qualification is to assist the understanding of the problem-solving cycle of planning, collecting, processing, and discussing in meaningful contexts, and to use statistical software to process real data sets. It enables learners to use statistics to aid decision-making across numerous disciplines, including humanities, psychology, sociology, sciences, and business at Level 3. It also prepares those learners who wish to progress to higher education to study for qualifications which have embedded quantitative / statistical elements.

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. However, only qualifications that meet the full criteria count towards performance tables from 2018. 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 characteristics that must be met by Applied General qualifications as detailed in the DfE criteria are as follows:

 

Interim Requirement (for qualifications counting in 2016 performance tables)

Full Requirement (for qualifications counting in 2018 performance tables)

A. Declared Purpose

X

X

B. Size

X

X

C. Recognition

X

X

D. Synoptic Assessment

 

X

E. External Assessment

 

X

F. Grading

 

X

G. Employer involvement (Tech Level Qualifications only)

 

X

H. Progression

 

X

I. Proven Track Record

 

X

 

These changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Size: Applied General qualifications must require at least 150 guided learning hours (GLH). Tech Level qualifications must require at least 300 GLH.
  • Appropriate content: a qualification specification must state the specific content that students need to pass to achieve the qualification. Mandatory content and the associated contribution to the overall grade must make up at least:
    • 60% of an Applied General
    • 40% of a Tech Level
  • Appropriate assessment: Applied General qualifications must include at least 40% external assessment. Tech Levels must include 30% external assessment. Students will be given one opportunity to resit.
  • Synoptic assessment.
  • Grading: all vocational qualifications must be graded using three grading points or more, such as Distinction/Merit/Pass.

Further information about Applied General qualifications, and the range of qualifications that meet these 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 outlined in the table above.

Applied General qualifications must comply with Ofqual’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.These qualifications meet the full requirements for the reformed qualification.


These WJEC Applied General qualifications were introduced in 2015 and 2016.

Awarding organisation
  • WJEC
Qualification codes
601/4550/X (WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Environmental Science)
601/4551/1 (WJEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Environmental Science)
601/6249/1 (WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Criminology)
601/6248/X (WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology)
601/4552/3 (WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition)
601/7651/9 (WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science)
601/7644/1 (WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Medical Science)
601/4546/8 (WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Statistical Problem Solving using Software)
Structure

All WJEC reformed Applied General qualifications are unitised qualifications normally taken over two years, with the following flexibilities:

Level 3 Diploma and Extended Diploma in Environmental Science: learners have the option of achieving the Level 3 Extended Diploma if they have achieved the required units.

Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Criminology: learners who complete the first year of study, comprising two units only, may be awarded the Level 3 Certificate in Criminology, with the Diploma being awarded to learners who have completed the full four units.

Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition: learners who complete the first year of study only, may be awarded a Level 3 Certificate if they have completed and passed Unit 1 external and internal assessments.

Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Medical Science: learners who complete the first year of study only, may be awarded the Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science if they have achieved the required units.

Subject areas

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Environmental Science

Mandatory units:

  • Managing energy for a sustainable future
  • The living environment and conservation
  • Monitoring our physical environment
  • Scientific principles and the environment

WJEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Environmental Science

Mandatory units:

  • Managing energy for a sustainable future
  • The living environment and conservation
  • Monitoring our physical environment
  • Scientific principles and the environment
  • Dealing with pollution
  • Managing agriculture for a sustainable future
  • Environmental impact analysis

Optional units (learner must select one):

  • Climate change
  • Transport systems and the environment

WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Criminology

Mandatory units:

  • Changing Awareness of Crime
  • Criminological Theories

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology

Mandatory units:

  • Changing Awareness of Crime
  • Criminological Theories
  • Crime Scene to Courtroom
  • Crime and Punishment

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition

Mandatory units:

  • Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Specific Groups
  • Ensuring Food is Safe to Eat

Optional units (learner must select one):

  • Experimenting to Solve Food Production
  • Current Issues in Food Science and Nutrition

WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science

Mandatory units:

  • Human health and disease
  • Physiological measurement techniques
  • Medical science research methods

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Medical Science

Mandatory units:

  • Human health and disease
  • Physiological measurement techniques
  • Medical science research methods
  • Medicines and treatment of disease
  • Clinical laboratory techniques
  • Medical case study

WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Statistical Problem Solving using Software

Mandatory units:

  • Statistical Problem Solving using Software (internal)
  • Statistical Problem Solving using Software (external)
Levels

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.

Grading

Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction* grades are available for the following qualifications:

  • WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Environmental Science
  • WJEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Environmental Science
  • WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition
  • WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Statistical Problem Solving using Software

A* – E grades are available for the following qualifications:

  • WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology
  • WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Medical Science

A – E grades are available for the following qualifications:

  • WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Criminology
  • WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science
Assessment

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

Internal units

Units are assessed using controlled assessment which follows the JCQ Principles for Controlled Assessment.

View the JCG Principles for Controlled Assessment

There are three stages of controlled assessment:

  1. Task Setting: WJEC have produced model assignments for each unit. Centres may modify the assignment within specified parameters.
  2. Task Taking: there are five areas of task taking that are controlled: time, resources, supervision, collaboration, and resubmission.
  3. Task Marking: all marking of evidence is made against the assessment criteria and performance band statements given in each unit specification.

External units (task-based)

An assignment will be produced each year and will change on an annual basis. Learners may not collaborate during times when they are working on assessment tasks. The assessments will set out the resources required by learners. Each assessment will cover all learning outcomes for the unit and indicate which assessment criteria are targeted for the assessment. Marking will be according to the performance bands supplied by WJEC.

External units (examination)

The paper is based on the unit content and is also synoptic.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Environmental Science

The weightings of units are as follows:

  • Managing energy for a sustainable future (24% of the qualification)
  • The living environment and conservation (24% of the qualification)
  • Monitoring our physical environment (24% of the qualification)
  • Scientific principles and the environment (28% of the qualification)

WJEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Environmental Science

The weightings of units are as follows:

Mandatory units:

  • Managing energy for a sustainable future (24% of the qualification)
  • The living environment and conservation (24% of the qualification)
  • Monitoring our physical environment (24% of the qualification)
  • Scientific principles and the environment (28% of the qualification)
  • Dealing with pollution (12% of the qualification)
  • Managing agriculture for a sustainable future (12% of the qualification)
  • Environmental impact analysis (14% of the qualification)

Optional units (learner must select one):

  • Climate change (12% of the qualification)
  • Transport systems and the environment (12% of the qualification)

WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Criminology

Each unit is equally weighted, and each assessment contributes equally (50%) to the overall grade.

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology

Each unit is equally weighted, and each assessment contributes equally (25%) to the overall grade.


WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition

Each unit is equally weighted, and each assessment contributes equally (50%) to the overall grade.


WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science

The weightings of units are as follows:

  • Human health and disease (50% of the qualification)
  • Physiological measurement techniques (25% of the qualification)
  • Medical science research methods (25% of the qualification)

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Medical Science

The weightings of units are as follows:

  • Human health and disease (25% of the qualification)
  • Physiological measurement techniques (12.5% of the qualification)
  • Medical science research methods (12.5% of the qualification)
  • Medicines and treatment of disease (25% of the qualification)
  • Clinical laboratory techniques (12.5% of the qualification)
  • Medical case study (12.5% of the qualification)

WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Statistical Problem Solving using Software

The weightings of units are as follows:

  • Internal assessment (60% of the qualification)
  • External assessment (40% of the qualification)
Resit arrangements

Reformed Applied General qualifications are only allowed one resit opportunity per unit. The resit must be a new task or assignment, different to the original assessment.

Learners can retake these qualifications as a whole as many times as they wish within the shelf life of the qualifications.

Guided/notional learning hours
WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Environmental Science: 360 hours
WJEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Environmental Science: 720 hours
WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Criminology: 180 hours
WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology: 360 hours
WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition: 360 hours
WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science: 180 hours
WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Medical Science: 360 hours
WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Statistical Problem Solving using Software: 180 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

The Certificate is the size of half an A level (180 GLH)

The Diploma is the size of one A level (360 GLH)

The Extended Diploma is the size of two A levels (720 GLH)

UCAS Tariff points

WJEC Level 3 Applied Diploma in Environmental Science

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

WJEC Level 3 Applied Extended Diploma in Environmental Science

Grade Points
D* 112
D 96
M 64
P 32

WJEC Level 3 Applied Certificate in Criminology

Grade Points
A 24
B 20
C 16
D 12
E 8

WJEC Level 3 Applied Diploma in Criminology

Grade Points
A* 56
A 48
B 40
C 32
D 24
E 16

WJEC Level 3 Applied Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

WJEC Level 3 Applied Certificate in Medical Science

Grade Points
A 24
B 20
C 16
D 12
E 8

WJEC Level 3 Applied Diploma in Medical Science

Grade Points
A* 56
A 48
B 40
C 32
D 24
E 16

WJEC Level 3 Applied Certificate in Statistical Problem Solving Using Software

Grade Points
D* 28
D 24
M 16
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.

The popularity of Applied Generals has risen over recent years. The entry rate for applicants holding at least one BTEC (either alone or in combination with A levels) 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 meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to their predecessors and likely to result in learners developing different skills and aptitudes. HEPs should review their understanding of these qualifications to ensure it remains up to date.
  • 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.
  • The fully-reformed qualifications include both external and synoptic assessment, as well as changes to resit processes. These changes are likely to result in fewer learners 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 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.
  • A larger mandatory core means that HEPs who 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 that these requirements are still valid. It should be noted that not all learners 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.
Timing of assessments/results for learners

Internal assessments can be submitted in June each year (also submitted in January for WJEC Level 3 Diploma and Extended Diploma in Environmental Science, and WJEC Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Medical Science).

External assessment is available in June each year. Results are issued in August each year.

Qualification date
01 Sep 2015—31 Aug 2021 (Dates applicable to WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Environmental Science, WJEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Environmental Science, WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Criminology, WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology, and WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition)
01 Sep 2016—31 Aug 2021 (Dates applicable to WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science, WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Medical Science, and WJEC Level 3 Certificate in Statistical Problem Solving using Software)
Qualification dates notes

These qualifications are current and have been available to learners since 2015.

Reporting and certification information

The results of WJEC Applied General qualifications are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL

Information on candidate numbers and grade distribution are made available on the WJEC website after the results are issued in August each year.

Progression information

Applied General qualifications differ in size; some may meet the entry requirements for higher education in their own right and some may need to be offered in conjunction with other Level 3 qualifications (e.g. 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.

This suite of qualifications has been designed to complement other Level 3 qualifications, for example, GCE A levels in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, sociology, law, psychology, physical education and business, and to support progression to higher level study.