Ofqual announcement on A level reform for students in England

Fri Nov 30 15:25:00 UTC 2012

A level reforms

On 9 November, Ofqual published its key findings following its consultation on A level reform.

These key findings from the consultation show support for:

  • the principle of higher education engagement with A level design
  • students being assessed at the end of each of their first and second year of study
  • the removal of January exams and reduced resit opportunities
  • increasing synoptic assessment in A levels
  • reducing internal assessment.

You can read more about Ofqual’s findings here.

The regulator also announced that, from September 2013, students in England will no longer be able to sit A level examinations in January. The implications for students completing the Applied GCE in Health and Social Care are the following:

This announcement affects students who started their two-year A level courses this September (2012).

For students who started a two-year A level course in September 2012:

  • AS examinations will be available in January 2013, June 2013 and June 2014.
    There will be no AS examinations available in January 2014.
  • A2 examinations will be available in January 2013, June 2013 and June 2014.
    There will be no A2 examinations available January 2014.

For students who start a two-year A level course from September 2013:

  • AS examinations will be available in June 2014 and June 2015.
    There will be no AS examinations available in January 2014.
  • A2 examinations will be available in June 2014 and June 2015.
    There will be no A2 examinations available January 2014.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will there be changes to the content of the current A level specifications?
No specific requirements to change the content of the current A level specifications have been announced by Ofqual. However, we will continue to review our A level specifications as part of our normal scrutiny processes. We'll ensure that if any changes are made they will be communicated to all our centres in the normal way.

2. Will AS be staying?
There has been no announcement from Ofqual at this stage about changes to the structure of A levels.

3. Will students still be allowed to resit exams if necessary, albeit only during the summer exam period? For example, could an A2 student resit one of their AS exams at the end of the A2 course?
Yes.

4. Will students be limited to one resit only? Will students still be able to resit units?
There's been no announcement from Ofqual at this stage about the number of resits per unit/module. However, no January examinations will be available from 2014. 

5. Does the announcement from Ofqual affect Applied GCEs?
Ofqual has also confirmed that, from September 2013, students in England will no longer able to sit examinations in January for Applied GCEs.

Our Applied GCEs are accredited until 31 August 2015, the current end date for these qualifications. We are seeking further clarification about an option for resits in January 2016.

6. We have coursework in January. Is coursework also affected by the no-January-exam rule?
Yes, the no-January-exam rule also applies to coursework. 

7. When will there be new A levels?
There has been no further announcement from Ofqual at this stage about the timing of the introduction of the new A level specifications. 

8. Will January exams be available for students in Wales and Northern Ireland who are taking Edexcel GCEs?
We're waiting for clarification on how the recent announcement on A level reform applies to Wales and Northern Ireland. 

I hope you found this update useful. If you need any further information, please don't hesitate to contact me or Jo Gbovi, Subject Specialist for Health and Social Care and Childcare, using the email address below.

Regards,

Kate Elsmore
Health & Social Care/Childcare SubjectAdvisor
E:TeachingHealthandSocialCare@pearson.com
E: TeachingChildcare@Pearson.com
You can also find me on Facebook

What do you think?
Close