UCAS qualification provision survey 2018
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UCAS advisers UCAS qualification provision survey 2018 June 2018
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 3 Contents Executive Summary Survey overview Executive summary 3 The qualification provision survey 2018 is the latest in a series of Full report 7 qualification reform surveys from UCAS, designed to understand England 12 how schools and colleges are responding to qualification reform. England AS and A level 14 Between November 2017 and February 2018, UCAS issued a survey England: vocational qualifications 22 to all registered schools (4133) and colleges in the UK using its England: GCSEs and the services, and the results of the survey cover the 2017 – 2019 cohort of students. There were 626 responses to the survey, of which 464 Extended Project Qualification 28 were individual and analysable. The split by school type is detailed Scotland 34 on the next slide. The findings presented are not weighted by respondent type. Wales 42 Northern Ireland 50 Prior to 2018, the survey was focused on A level and AS level reform Next steps 58 in England, with the scope broadening year-on-year to include not only AS and A level provision, but also GCSEs and vocational qualifications. This year, UCAS has expanded the survey further, to incorporate a wider range of provision, and cover all four nations of the UK. The purpose of this survey is to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the response to qualification reform across the UK, and to provide recommendations for UCAS, higher education providers, and schools and colleges, based on this insight.
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 4 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 5 Response rate by country England Scotland and school type AS and A level provision National 5 qualifications ++ 55% of respondents will not offer the AS at all in the 2017/18 ++ 57% of respondents do not have a policy for students academic year. In the 2016 /17 survey, this was 36%. bypassing National 5 qualifications, and 38% allow bypassing by individual students. ++ 14% are offering the AS in all reformed subjects, and 29% in some. Our previous survey indicated that 29% would offer the Advanced Highers AS in all subjects, and 30% in some. ++ 94% of respondents offer Advanced Highers. England Wales ++ 73% of respondents have changed their AS and A level ++ 67% of respondents collaborate with other centres or provision since 2015 /16, and 59% since 2016 /17.24% of providers to offer a provision of Advanced Highers, with School type Respondents Percentage School type Respondents Percentage respondents intend to revisit this decision in the future. inter-school partnerships being the most common free Academy 115 24% Further education college 5 15% text response. Vocational qualification provision Free school 6 2% Independent school 5 15% ++ 55% of respondents are delivering a reformed specification, Qualification reform in Scotland however an additional 35% are dual running both reformed ++ 38% of centres have changed their qualification offering as Further education college 29 9% Sixth form college 2 6% and unreformed specifications. a result of qualification reform. Grammar school 16 5% State school 22 65% ++ 23% of respondents do not feel that HE providers have a good ++ 81% of respondents felt that universities and colleges have Independent school 100 30% Total 34 100% understanding of these qualifications, a slight increase on a good to reasonable understanding of qualification reform 2016 /17 (22%). No respondents indicated that providers had in Scotland. Sixth form college 20 6% no understanding, an improvement on 2017. ++ 93% felt informed when making decisions about reformed State school 48 14% ++ The majority of respondents to this section offer vocational qualifications. qualifications awarded by Pearson (91%). However, schools Total 334 100% and colleges also offer a range of vocational qualifications awarded by other bodies such as OCR, City and Guilds, and AQA and it is important for HE providers to reflect this diversity. ++ The 360 GLH qualification is the most popular size of vocational qualification on offer, with 33% of respondents offering this, followed by the 720 GLH (25%) GCSE provision ++ Where respondents have a GCSE requirement in English and Maths to study post-16, the majority of respondents ask for a grade 4 (55% English; 55% Maths). ++ 75% of respondents feel confident in identifying the standard Scotland Northern Ireland that a student is performing at under the 9 –1 grading scale School type Respondents Percentage School type Respondents Percentage Extended Project provision Academy 1 2% Grammar school 28 58% ++ 82% of respondents offer the EPQ, and 96% believe that High/Secondary school 28 58% State school 20 42% universities and colleges have a good to reasonable understanding of the qualification. Independent school 14 29% Total 48 100% State school 5 10% Qualification reform in England Total 48 100% ++ 54% of respondents have changed the range of subjects or qualifications offered as a result of qualification reform. ++ 86% of respondents felt informed when making decisions about reformed qualifications, however the free text responses indicate that there is still confusion over HE entry requirements and offer making with regards to reformed qualifications.
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 6 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS Wales Northern Ireland Welsh Baccalaureate AS and A level provision ++ 85% of respondents offer the Advanced Skills Challenge ++ The qualifications open market in Northern Ireland means Certificate. Of those respondents, 69% offer it alongside two some students will take decoupled A levels, offered by AQA, A levels, and 24% alongside three. OCR, Pearson, and WJEC (Eduqas), where the AS marks do not contribute to the overall A level grade, while others will take ++ 69% felt that universities and colleges had a good to A levels offered by CCEA and WJEC, which include a coupled reasonable understanding of the Welsh Baccalaureate, AS level. CCEA is the largest awarding body, with 98% of with 3% feeling they have no understanding at all. respondents offering CCEA accredited A levels. GCSE Maths and GCSE Numeracy ++ When offering non-CCEA A levels, 94% of respondents continue to offer the AS level in some form. ++ 79% of centres offer both GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Numeracy. 59% of respondents offer both to all students, and an additional 9% offer both to more than half of their students. Qualification reform in Northern Ireland ++ 56% of respondents have changed their qualification offering Qualification reform in Wales as a result of qualification reform. ++ 41% of centres have changed their qualification offering as a result of qualification reform. ++ 80% of respondents felt that universities and colleges have a good to reasonable understanding of qualification reform ++ 88% of respondents felt that universities and colleges have in Northern Ireland. a good to reasonable understanding of qualification reform in Wales. ++ 65% of respondents felt informed when making decisions about reformed qualifications. ++ 74% felt informed when making decisions about reformed qualifications, and only 6% described themselves as ‘not at all informed’. The following full report is summarised by UK nation. Findings are presented alongside country profiles offering an overview of qualification reform in that nation. Full report
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 8 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 9 Full report Overview of previous surveys UCAS qualification reform roundtable Qualification provision survey 2017 UCAS qualification UCAS held a roundtable session in January 2018, to act as a forum to reflect on how the education sector was prepared for, and Other key findings from the roundtable, some of which are mirrored in the findings of this survey, include: provision survey ++ 59% of respondents indicated that they would offer the AS in all or some subjects, with 43% indicating that they intend to responded to, qualification reform. It focused on what went well, where there were gaps in knowledge, and / or a lack of response, and ++ recognition that there was an unprecedented level of change, revisit the decision for the 2017 / 18 academic year. sought to identify activities and resources that most supported the but other changes on the horizon (e.g. vocational qualification Qualification reform has led to considerable debate ++ 23% of respondents were offering an unreformed vocational entire sector with the changes, and any that could be undertaken reform in England) would require careful preparation, about how secondary schools and colleges might alter specification, and 22% felt that universities and colleges did again in the event of future reforms. communication, and support on both sides their 16 –19 curriculum. UCAS has taken a central role in communicating intelligence regarding qualification not have a good understanding of vocational qualifications. The feedback from the qualification provision survey was noted ++ other factors surrounding higher education increased reform. UCAS sought to keep both the HE and pre-HE competition, and the declining 18 year old population, ++ 40% of respondents did not feel confident in identifying as very useful, for both HE providers, and school and college sectors informed of developments, and how qualification may have mitigated some of the challenges a student’s performance in the reformed GCSE grading. representatives, in understanding how the pre-HE sector responds reform could, and would, impact both on the provision to qualification reform. As a result of this feedback, the expanded offered by schools and colleges, and applications to ++ there was a good understanding of both the HE and school ++ 70% of respondents felt that they had sufficient information survey will continue as a UK wide piece. higher education. and college response to qualification reform, and UCAS should regarding qualification reform, compared to 51% in 2016. continue to take a central role in communicating intelligence To date, UCAS has published the results of two A level ++ qualification reform statements were cited as a key resource surveys – Unpacking Qualification Reform (2015 and Unpacking qualification reform for schools and colleges 2016) – and one qualification provision survey (2017), 2016 encapsulating the wider range of qualifications in England. We have also produced a range of resources to ++ The AS was more prevalent in the 2015 /16 academic year support all audiences with the changing qualifications than previously thought, with 74% of respondents indicating landscape, including flyers, videos, and our qualification they would offer the AS in all or some subjects. reform guide, providing a more detailed overview of ++ 26% of respondents indicated that the range of qualifications Methodology qualification reform across the UK. they offer had changed as a result of reforms. UCAS emailed all registered Apply centres between November and February 2018, with information regarding the new qualification provision The higher education and secondary sectors have both survey. The questions were dynamic, and differed between UK nations. Overall, the survey received 464 individual, analysable responses. Due to found the intelligence gathered through these surveys 2015 the logic of survey questions and user engagement, different questions will have differing levels of participation. The findings presented are not valuable in understanding the national response to ++ 66% said they would offer the reformed AS qualifications in weighted by respondent type. qualification reform, and, as a result, the qualification some or all subjects. provision survey is now an annual publication. This year, this has been expanded to cover all UK nations, to help ++ A diverse range of influencing factors – funding, timetabling, School type England Percentage Scotland Percentage Wales Percentage Northern Percentage them understand the wider impact of qualification reform performance measures, and university entry requirements, in split* split* split* Ireland split* across the UK. addition to the belief that there is intrinsic value in a midpoint Academy 115 34% 1 2% - - - - assessment. The survey now covers a wide range of qualifications Free school 6 2% - - - - - - from across the UK, including AS and A levels, GCSEs, the Further 29 9% - - 5 15% - - Welsh baccalaureate, SQA qualifications, and vocational education qualifications (England only). college Grammar school 16 5% - - - - 28 58% High/Secondary - - 28 58% - - - - school (Scotland) Independent 100 30% 14 29% 5 15% - - school Sixth form 20 6% - - 2 6% - - college State 48 14% 5 10% 22 65% 20 42% Total 334 100% 48 100% 34 100% 48 100% Grand total 464
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 10 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 11 Has the range of qualifications or subjects you offer changed How informed did you feel when making as a result of qualification reform? decisions about reformed qualifications? Has the range of qualifications or subjects you offer changed as a result of qualification reform? 80% 80% 70% 70% Percentage of respondents Percentage of respondents 60% 60% 50% 50% 40% 40% Country Country 30% 30% England 334 England 296 20% Scotland 48 20% Scotland 45 10% Wales 34 10% Wales 31 Northern Ireland 47 Northern Ireland 37 0 0 England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland Very informed Moderately informed Not very informed Not at all informed Country Yes No Country Do you feel you have sufficient information about qualification reform England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland when making decisions about future provision? In 2016, 49% of respondents did not feel that they had sufficient information about qualification reform. Do you feel you have sufficient information about qualification reform when making decisions about future provision? 100% 80% Percentage of respondents 60% Country 40% England 295 Scotland 45 20% Wales 31 Northern Ireland 37 0 England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland Country Yes No
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 13 England For the 2017 / 18 academic year, what was your main qualification offer? For the 2017/18 academic year, what was your main qualification offer? A level and AS level only A level and vocational provision, such as BTECs A level and the Extended Project International Baccalaureate A level and Core Maths A level and Pre-U certificates Vocational provision only, such as BTECs Other 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% n=334 Total Independent school Academy All other respondents England
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 15 England AS and A level Qualification reform Have you changed your in England AS provision since: Have you changed your AS provision since: 2015 /16 AS and A level reform Reformed A levels were first taught in 2015 and are two-year, linear qualifications, with Total exams taking place at the end of the course. Non-exam assessment has been reduced, and UMS marks removed. The introduction of reformed A levels has been phased by subject, and summer 2020 will see all A levels following Independent school this model. The AS has been decoupled so that they All other respondents are standalone qualifications which do not count towards the A level. They are separately awarded and certificated, although students may be able to sit an AS qualification as part of their overall A level programme, if offered Academy by their school or college. AS levels have been designed to be co-taught alongside the corresponding A level. 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Yes No Reformed science A levels in England will include England AS a separate result for the practical element of the qualification (pass or not classified). This result does not contribute to the overall A level 2016 /17 grade, however, practical skills will be referenced and A level in the final written exams. Total The grading scales remain A* – E for A levels, and A – E for AS levels. Independent school All other respondents Academy 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Yes No Year 2015/16 285 2016/17 283
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 16 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 17 AS levels: For the 2017/18 What were the key drivers when making academic year, we are: “ decisions about your AS provision? 2% We used to require all students to take three A levels and one stand alone AS level as their minimum sixth form Ranked from 1 – 7, with 1 being the most important programme. We now only expect students to take three What were the key drivers when making decisions about your AS provision (ranked from 1-7, with 1 being the most important)? A levels as their minimum sixth form programme. We have done this to save money, and because universities only 29% University and college entry requirements require three A levels for entry. Grammar school Timetabling 55% School size Performance measures 14% “ Funding We offered it the first year to all, then last year only to Cohort ability those who underperformed at the mocks, and there was doubt about their ability to cope with the full A level. Not offering AS at all Other Offering the AS in all reformed subjects Academy 0 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Offering the AS in some reformed subjects Undecided about our AS provision n=271 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 n=292 There has been a significant increase in the number of centres not offering the AS (36% in 2017). “ Now that all subjects are linear, we feel it makes sense to embrace a linear approach. It is also clear that AS qualifications have no impact on university decisions. Independent school AS levels: For the 2017/18 academic year we are: Offering th AS in all reformed subjects Offering the AS in some reformed subjects Not offering the AS at all Undecided about our AS provision 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Total Independent school Academy All other respondents n=292
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 18 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 19 Do you intend to revisit your decision As a result of A level reform, has the about AS provision in the future? amount of teaching time available in your centre changed? “ “ 30% 24% As a result of A level reform, has the amount of teaching time available in your centre changed? All students previously sat AS levels at end of Year 12. 5% Lesson allocation remained the same, but gained time Changed due to prohibitive cost, and the fact that grades through not taking AS examinations in the summer term. were not needed for university entry. 21% Independent school Academy 9% “ 47% “ We used to provide less teaching time in Year 13 to each Stopped offering AS in reformed subjects, as not A level than in Year 12, now we have raised the teaching Yes always easily co-teachable with A level. time in Year 13 to match that in Year 12 for each A level. 65% No Undecided Academy Grammar school Increased n=289 Decreased “ In 2017, 43% of respondents intended to revisit their decision about Remained the same AS provision in the future. “ Not yet clear At the moment, the teaching time has not changed. We no longer offer AS, as we do not have the staffing n=294 capacity or the number of students to accommodate However, it is becoming more and more clear that more separate courses at A and AS level. time is needed to fulfil the practical side, as well as the theory side of the sciences. State school Independent school Do you intend to revisit your decision about AS provision in the future? As a result of A level reform, has the amount of teaching time available in your centre changed? Increased Yes Decreased No Remained the same Undecided Not yet clear 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Total Independent school Academy All other respondents Total Independent school Academy All other respondents n=289 n=294
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 20 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 21 As a result of A level reform, has your centre sought more collaborative arrangements Subject provision Subject provision from 2017/18 with other centres for the provision of certain subjects? from 2017 / 18 ult of A level reform, has your centre sought more collaborative arrangements with other centres for the provision of certain subjects? 300 250 16% Numberof respondents 200 150 100 50 0 84% Accounting Ancient history Ancient languages Art and design Biology Business Chemistry Chinese Classical civilisation Computer science Dance Design and technolgy Drama and theatre Economics Electronics English language English language and literature English literature Environmental science Film studies Further maths Geography Geology History History of art Italian Maths Media studies Modern foreign languages (French, German, Spanish) Music Music technology Philosophy Physical education Physics Politics Psychology Religious studies Russian Sociology Statistics All of the above Law Yes No “ Arrangement with other nearby sixth form was in place already, in order to offer minority n=294 subjects such as law and language. Academy AS level A level “ We are in a consortium of schools – the subjects being taught at each centre will vary year-on-year, depending on need. Free school “ We collaborate with a local state school. We send our students to them for sociology and politics and their students come to us for photography. Independent school
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 23 England: vocational qualifications Qualification reform in England Vocational qualification reform Some vocational qualifications offered at Level 3 have been ++ Content: A qualification specification must state the specific reformed as a result of changes to school performance tables. content students must pass to achieve it. Mandatory content, Vocational qualifications must meet the criteria set by the and the associated contribution to the overall grade, must Department for Education (DfE) in order to count towards school make up at least 60% of an Applied General, and 40% of performance tables. For accountability purposes, vocational a Tech level. qualifications are now classified as: ++ External assessment: Applied Generals must have at least 40% external assessment, and Tech levels must have 30%. ++ Applied General qualifications: The purpose of these Students will also be given one opportunity to resit. qualifications is to provide a broader vocational education. They ‘are designed for students wanting to continue their ++ Synoptic assessment: The qualification must assess that education through applied learning.’ These qualifications must a student can use all the skills, techniques, concepts, theories, meet a number of criteria, including endorsement by at least and knowledge they have learnt. three universities and colleges. ++ Grading: Must be graded using three grading points or more, ++ Tech level qualifications: The purpose of these qualifications such as distinction / merit / pass. is to lead to a ‘recognised occupation’. Examples provided Further information on qualification reform in England can be found by the DfE include engineering, accounting, construction, in the UCAS qualification reform guide. manufacturing, agriculture, and IT. These qualifications must meet a number of criteria, including the endorsement of five employers registered at Companies House. Applied General and Tech level qualifications are significantly different. Which organisation awards the England: ++ Size: Applied General qualifications require at least 150 guided learning hours (GLH). Tech level qualifications require vocational qualifications you deliver? at least 300 GLH. vocational 200 qualifications 150 Number of respondents 100 50 0 Pearson (BTEC) OCR AQA WJEC/Edquas City and guilds VTCT NCFE CACHE Other n=218 Awarding organisation
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 24 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 25 What size vocational qualification If you have delayed the introduction of do you offer? What size vocational qualification do you offer? teaching a new specification, what was the rationale behind your decision? 1080 GLH, the same size as three A levels “ 720 GLH, the same size as 2 A levels Qualification size To enable subject teams to have more time to plan, and 540 GLH, the same size as an A level and AS level allow new specifications time to ‘settle. Sixth form college 360 GLH, the same size as an A level 180 GLH, the same size as an AS level “ 0 30 60 90 120 150 “ Our excellence in delivering the existing qualification which suits our learners, and provides those skills Number of respondents Assessment regime. These students thrive on coursework- universities are looking for. n=218 based programmes, and don’t cope well with exams. Academy Academy For the 2017/18 academic year, are you: For the 2017/18 academic year, are you: “ “ Students achieving well on unreformed BTEC; feedback A mix has been taught based on what was best going to from exam boards and other schools suggests that pass suit the subject and cohort for that year. marks etc., are disadvantageous to student outcomes. 35% Further education college State 55% “ To introduced staged changes at school. This enabled us 7% to become familiar with the new content of A levels before adding in the changed BTEC. 4% Academy Delivering a reformed specification Delivering a specification that has not been reformed Delivering an existing specification, delaying teaching of the new version Delivering both reformed and unreformed specifications in different subjects n=200 In 2017, 23% of respondents delayed the teaching of the new version of vocational qualifications, compared to 4% in 2018.
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 26 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 27 To what extent do you believe Feedback on the delivery of reformed universities and colleges understand vocational qualifications: these qualifications? To what extent do you believe universities and colleges understand these qualifications? 23% 13% “ The exam element and new assessment process to the BTEC courses has significantly changed these courses, and I do not believe universities appreciate this. They are still judging these on the previous 100% coursework courses, and now the complexity of the BTEC exams needs to be taken into account. Students who previously would have been directed down the BTEC route due to the coursework nature of the course are finding the courses inaccessible, due to the exam and the structure of the assignments Academy 63% Good understanding Reasonable understanding Not a very good understanding “ “ “ There has been no adjustment for the more challenging The new qualifications are more demanding given the I think they are better prepared for university, the course is n=201 nature of the reformed qualifications. exams they must sit, but the skills are more robust due to more research-based that it was, and they’ll have a deeper the work the students complete with external businesses. understanding of practitioners. State school State school Academy “ “ Getting better, and valuing them more as A levels is now It is good that they have a final exam which keeps the “ producing more students who know how to pass an exam, Greater focus and more skills-driven, but the introduction whereas the BTECs promote research and continual students working right up until the end of the course. of formal examination seems counter to the spirit of assessment more in line with degree requirements It puts them more in line with the A levels that most the qualification. students are taking here. Academy Independent school State school “ “ The students are finding the exams impossible. Students A greater focus on examinations seems to remove some of who take these qualifications tend to be those that the benefits to learners of experiencing hands-on activity. struggle with exams, hence them not taking A levels. Academy Sixth form college
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 29 England: GCSEs and the Extended Project Qualification Qualification reform in England GCSE reform Reformed GCSEs were first taught in England in 2015, and follow the two-year linear model. Non-exam assessment has been removed unless essential for subject-specific assessment which can’t be assessed by written exam (e.g. speaking skills in English language). Reformed GCSEs are graded 9-1, and no direct comparison can be made between the alphabetical and numeric scales in England. However, broadly, the same proportion of students who would have achieved a grade C and above are expected to achieve a grade 4 and above, and the same proportion who would have achieved a grade A and above expected to achieve a 7 and above. GCSE requirement for schools GCSE reform has been phased, and summer 2020 will see all GCSEs and colleges graded 9 –1. Students will receive a mixture of letter and number grades during this period. In this survey, 247 schools and colleges indicated that they have a GCSE entry requirement in English and Maths. These requirements are generally as follows: The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) GCSE requirement for schools and colleges Whilst the EPQ has not been reformed, there has been an increase in the number of students taking the qualification, although it is not 150 offered by all centres. England: 120 Number of respondents GCSEs and the 90 60 Extended Project 30 Qualification 0 4 5 6 7 8 Grade English Maths Subject English 251 Maths 248
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 30 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 31 How confident do you feel in Does your centre offer the Extended identifying the standard that a Project Qualification? student is performing under the Does your centre offer the Extended Project Qualification? numeric grading scale? “ 100% In 2017,do How confident 36%youoffeel respondents indicated in identifying that they the standard were that not at all a student is performing under theItnumeric will begrading at leastscale? a couple of years to be sure. confident in identifying how a student was performing. 80% Academy 1% 13% 60% 24% “ 40% We will review at the end of the year to see how students “ 20% achieving 4 in English and Maths have faired in Year 12. Academy I would like them to have a better understanding 0 of the skills, level of performance, and time Yes No commitment involved. Total Independent school Academy All other respondents State “ 62% n=316 Very confident Uncertainty about equivalence to B on old scale, which was Reasonable confident formerly an entry requirement for many courses at Level 3. Not very confident Not at all confident n=293 State school “ EPQ is often used in the offer made, and prepares To what extent do you feel universities individual students thoroughly for university assignments. and colleges understand the Extended State How confident do you feel in identifying the standard that Project To what extent doQualification? you feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification? a student How confident is performing do you feel in identifying under the standard that the a student numeric is performing undergrading scale? the numeric grading scale? 4% Very confident “ We wish it was valued more. Some higher education providers are great, i.e. including it in the 46% tariff offer or reducing the grade requirement by a grade Resonably confident or two on successful completion of an EPQ. Some pay lip service. Given the amount of work required to complete 50% a top grade EPQ, it should be given more credit. It develops the skills higher education providers claim Not very confident they want in students. Academy Not at all confident Good understanding Reasonable understanding 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Not very good understanding Total Independent school All other respondents Academy n=293 n=259
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 32 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGL AND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 33 What information or support would you like from universities and colleges to assist What information or support would your centre in relation to qualification reform? you like from UCAS to assist your centre in implementing and navigating qualification reform? “ “ One issue was university faculties (especially medicine) not appreciating the scale of reforms in schools, and trying to demand AS grades or four A levels when this was becoming unrealistic. Most amended their policies, Ongoing clarity of information regarding the but not until after a great deal of anxiety and pressure was caused to ‘value’ of a qualification for HE entry. students and schools trying to handle the reforms. Further education college Independent school “ Statements from the universities are “ “ very useful,and to be able to find them all in one place rather than hunting is great. “ Be clear on whether they are accepting 4 or 5 for GCSE More information on their attitude to vocational Continue to provide a central point for Independent school English and maths, and be able to be confident they are qualifications and mixed vocational-academic pathways. information from diverse sources. not changing their minds. Academy Independent school State school “ “ “ Working with universities to understand the value of skills learnt via vocational courses. “ Confidence that universities are dealing equally with Assurances to the parity of BTECs versus A levels in Sixth form college Regular, short briefings with simple information. students who are not taking any AS qualifications and being relevant and suitable qualifications for entry into HE. relying on fully school predicted grades against students Sixth form college The whole process is centred around A level provision, whose schools take decoupled AS in the L6. and I feel that BTECs are the poor relation. Independent school Further education college “ “ “ Maybe an update on how certain vocational qualifications are regarded by HE establishments. Are they changing To be clear about entry requirements their entry requirements based on reforming Level 3 Clear admissions statements on acceptable sixth form for varied qualifications. qualifications? If BTECs have been ‘brought in line’ with A provision – e.g. three or four subjects etc. levels, are any more institutions accepting them for entry? State school Independent school Further education college
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTL AND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 35 Scotland Qualification reform in Scotland Scotland Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Curriculum for Excellence aims to provide a coherent, flexible, and enriched curriculum from three to 18, which enables young people National 4 and 5 Students generally begin Nationals at the start of S4, following a broader general education at S1, S2, and S3. National 4 students to gain the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed for learning, life, are assessed internally throughout the year, using externally and work. quality assured SQA assessments. National 5 qualifications contain external assessment, and are of the same standard as qualifications previously offered at SCQF Level 5, such as Standard Grade (Credit). The introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence brought new National 5s previously included internally assessed unit assessment, qualifications (the National 4 and 5, in place of the Standard Grades which did not contribute to the grade, however, this was removed in and Intermediate 1 and 2) and reformed existing Highers and August 2017. Advanced Highers to better reflect the principles and aims of CfE. Further information on qualification reform in Scotland can be found One of the main objectives of the Curriculum for Excellence was to in the UCAS qualification reform guide. introduce curriculums tailored for the individual student. This means there is an increased flexibility in the delivery of qualifications, and greater diversity in the way qualifications are taken, with the aim being that study is tailored to the specific student or cohort. For example, while a student is undertaking the National 4 or 5 syllabus in S4 (fourth year of secondary school), they may not undertake the actual qualifications and summative assessment, allowing them to move directly to their Highers at some stage in S4, using the National 4 or 5 syllabus as foundation knowledge for Highers. Equally, some applicants may take a mix of National 4 and 5s, Highers, and Advanced Highers in a single year. Highers and Advanced Highers Highers are the primary qualification used for progression to HE by Scottish domiciled students, although some students may also take Advanced Highers. The aim of both qualifications is to provide a solid basis for progression into higher education, while developing those students with a more mature approach to study. Advanced Highers are not available to all students and are at SCQF Level 7, the same as year one undergraduate study in Scotland. Currently, Highers and Advanced Highers include internally assessed unit assessment, which does not contribute to the grade, however, this will be removed from August 2018 for Highers, and 2019 for Advanced Highers.
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 36 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTL AND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTL AND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 37 To what extent do you feel universities Does your centre… and colleges understand qualification To what extent do you feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification? Does your centre… reform in Scotland? 19% 15% “ Bypass National 5 qualifications in some subjects [No]. Even within Scotland, and certainly not in other parts of the UK. Independent school Bypass National 5 qualifications for all subjects “ Allow individual learners to bypass National 5 qualifications Scottish Universities understand the changes well, but I fear that English universities do not understand the My centre does not bypass any National 5 qualifications Scottish System. 67% High / Secondary school 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Good understanding Total Independent school All other respondents Reasonable understanding n=47 Not very good understanding n=48 “ Institutions do not always appreciate that students may sit Highers in S4 and S5, rather in one sitting in S5. High / Secondary school “ “ This is true for only one or two pupils where Only in extreme circumstances, i.e. if the pupil was on track they excel in one subject area. to achieve an A / B, but circumstances prevented them from either sitting or passing the exam, and parental approval. High / Secondary school Academy “ This is variable, dependent upon the admissions tutor and his / her past experience in dealing with Scottish schools. High / Secondary school
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 38 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTL AND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTL AND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 39 Does your centre offer Do you collaborate with other centres or providers Advanced Highers? for the provision of Advanced Highers? Do you collaborate with other centres or providers for the provision of Advanced Highers? Does your centre offer Advanced Highers? 50 100% 40 80% Number of respondents Number of respondents 30 60% 20 40% 10 20% 0 0 Yes No Yes No Total Independent school All other respondents Total Independent school All other respondents n=48 n=48 “ “ Currently, we have 12 subjects offered to our S6 cohort, but Students can travel to other schools in the authority. we already know that this will not be the same picture next There is also a ‘virtual campus’ provision. session, due to pupil and staff capacity. High / Secondary school High / Secondary school “ We have partnership agreements with other local schools, so as to allow students to study a subject with them if we are unable to run it due to uptake numbers. We also accept students from other schools if we are running courses they cannot. High / Secondary school “ We offer space to state schools. Independent school
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 40 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTL AND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTL AND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 41 What information or support would you like from universities and colleges to assist What information or support would you like from UCAS to assist your centre in your centre in relation to qualification reform? implementing and navigating qualification reform? “ “ Too often, some universities make decisions midway through an Qualification reform in Scotland began several years ago and is now academic year, and we only find out about this from discussions with bedding down, they may be able to assist in educating universities south our pupils or other anecdotal sources. Greater clarity to ensure there is of the border as to the comparative value of Scottish Qualifications. no change that schools are not aware of. Independent school High / Secondary school “ “ “ “ Universities should ensure that decision makers Support for Advanced Highers in principle, so they do I am happy and understand what is required for Executive summary of what the key reforms are, throughout their organisation are well briefed. not disappear from state schools. young people to enter university. Update on the reform and what is being looked for from applicants now that is would be useful. different to previously. Independent school High / Secondary school High / Secondary school High / Secondary school “ “ Possibly visits from tutors to schools, to discuss changes Executive summary of what the key reforms are, “ “ and what is being looked for from applicants now No significant concerns, as long as some institutions don’t and their effect on applications through UCAS. A focus on Scottish-specific issues. that is different to previously. make changes part way through the session. High / Secondary school High / Secondary school High / Secondary school High / Secondary school “ “ “ Continued sharing of expectations to ‘We would like information earlier. Continued regular updates, information, and support. schools and school pupils. Independent school High / Secondary school High / Secondary school
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 43 Wales Qualification reform in Wales AS and A level reform Revised AS and A levels were first taught in Wales from September 2015. Reform is largely around content. A levels offered in Wales The Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate continue to have an embedded AS qualification, however, the Since 2014, there have been three variations of the Welsh weighting has been reduced to 40%. Baccalaureate Advanced Level: the pass / fail model (final award in summer 2014), the interim A* – C graded model (final award in Practical or controlled assessment will be retained in subjects 2016) and the fully reformed model (Skills Challenge Certificate where it plays an important role in assessing the subject, including graded A* – E) science A levels. In subjects where there is no Wales-specific A level available, state-funded students can choose from the A levels that The 2017 Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate was first awarded in 2017. have been reformed for England, as long as Qualifications Wales It incorporates: has designated them as eligible for use on publicly funded learning programmes in Wales. ++ a Skills Challenge Certificate qualification, which is the same size as an A level and is graded A* – E GCSE reform ++ a minimum of two Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A levels) GCSEs in Wales will continue to be graded A*– G. In addition to some content revisions and change in focus for some GCSE subjects, GCSE ++ GCSE maths or maths numeracy, and English language or mathematics – numeracy has been introduced as a new subject. It Welsh language is expected that most young people in Wales will study both GCSE The Skills Challenge Certificate comprises four components: an mathematics qualifications. As per A levels, where there is no Wales- individual project (50%), an enterprise and employability challenge specific GCSE available, state-funded students can choose from (20%), a global citizenship challenge (15%) and a community those that have been reformed for England, as long as Qualifications challenge (15%). Wales has designated them as eligible for use on publicly funded Wales learning programmes in Wales. Further information on qualification reform in Wales can be found in the UCAS qualification reform guide. To achieve the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate, students must complete the Skills Challenge Certificate and the supporting qualifications: Advanced Skills Challenge Level 3 qualifications: GCSEs: Certificate (grade A* – E): Two A levels (grade A* – E) English or Welsh language ++ Individual project or (grade A* – C) + + ++ Enterprise end equivalent Level 3 qualifications and employability challenge totalling at least 600 GLH Maths or maths – numeracy ++ Global citizenship (grade A* – C) challenge ++ Community challenge The Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 44 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 45 To what extent do you feel universities Do you generally offer the Skills and colleges understand the Welsh Challenge Certificate alongside ToBaccalaureate? what extent do you feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification? two or extent To what three A levels? do you feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification? 3% 7% 21% 24% 28% “ “ This is varied. Universities in Wales, and some in Most applicants will complete three A levels England, have a good understanding of the value of the alongside the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate, qualification, but many universities outside Wales have but the minimum is two A levels. little or no understanding of this. Sixth form college Sixth form college 48% “ 69% “ Good understanding Two Any number of Level 3 qualifications from 2 to 4. It has improved a lot in the last two years, but some Reasonable understanding Three universities still don’t seem to understand it fully. State school Not very good understanding Other No understanding at all State school n=29 n=29 “ “ We do allow students to do four and the Skills Challenge Certificate, but most students take three An improving picture. Most HEPs we deal with and the Skills Challenge Certificate. understand the value of the Skills Challenge Certificate, and are now including the correct name of the State school qualification in admissions criteria. State school
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 46 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 47 Most centres in Wales will be offering To what extent do you feel universities GCSE mathematics and GCSE numeracy. and colleges To what understand extent do you qualification feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification? Approximately what proportion of reform in Wales? your students will be taking both qualifications? 12% 15% 80% 70% “ A statement from universities about the Welsh Percentage of respondents 60% Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate to allow College’s to make decisions about WBQ provision 50% and whether it should be compulsory (due to its benefits) to facilitate applications. 40% Sixth form college 30% 20% 10% 73% 0 Good understanding Reasonable understanding “ Less than half of our students We are not offering both qualifications More than half of our students All students Still a lack of understanding Not very good understanding about the Welsh Baccalaureate. n=29 State school n=34 Total Independent school All other respondents “ WBQ and the Skills Challenge Certificate acceptance is variable across universities and across admissions tutors in universities. Further education college
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 48 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND NEXT STEPS 49 What information or support would you like from universities and colleges to assist What information or support would you like from UCAS to assist your centre in your centre in relation to qualification reform? implementing and navigating qualification reform? “ “ I have seen a number of offers asking for practical grades in sciences, Pleased that the value of the Welsh Baccalaureate Skills which have panicked students somewhat, because it comes as part of the Challenge Certificate is being recognised much more widely, UMS marks in their grades. If offer conditions could be personalised, it but the message still needs to be driven forward. would appease some anxieties. State school Independent school “ “ “ “ More clarity in their requirements for GCSE and A level, Existing information is sufficient. Where we have individual Updated information on any changes or impacts Bulletins and reminders of resources from Welsh exam boards specifically. We are afraid that questions, we approach the HEP’s directly. on offers made by universities. available / CPD for staff. the use of 9-1 will worry our students who still provide A* – G, so clear sections on websites and / or other literature State school Further education college Further education college to clarify their stances would be appreciated. Independent school “ Understanding of the new Welsh Baccalaureate alongside “ “ “ vocational Level 3 qualifications which have also changed. Information on how subject reforms will directly reflect degree choices. Support in educating universities about the new qualifications in Wales. Information about how the qualification State school reform can be directly beneficial to our school Independent school Further education college and the links with universities. Independent school
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IREL AND NEXT STEPS 51 Northern Ireland Qualification reform in Northern Ireland AS and A level reform: The open market GCSE reform In Northern Ireland, schools are free to choose AS and A As with A levels, for GCSEs there is also an open qualifications level qualifications offered by any of the following awarding market in Northern Ireland, which means that schools are free to organisations: AQA, CCEA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC (Eduqas), choose GCSE qualifications offered by any of the following awarding with the exception of science A levels. organisations: AQA, CCEA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC (Eduqas), with the exception of English language as only the CCEA specification that include marks for speaking and listening has been accredited Therefore, some students will take decoupled A levels, offered by for delivery in Northern Ireland AQA, OCR, Pearson, and WJEC (Eduqas), where the AS marks do not contribute to the overall A level grade, while others will take A levels offered by CCEA and WJEC, where the AS marks contribute 40% to As GCSE grading is changing, this means some students will take the overall A level grade. GCSEs, offered by AQA, OCR, Pearson, and WJEC (Eduqas), which are graded 9 – 1, while others will take GCSEs offered by CCEA. From summer 2019, CCEA GCSEs will be graded using a new alphabetical Students in Northern Ireland taking science A levels must follow grading scale. The new alphabetical scale introduces a C* grade a course where the marks for the assessment of practical skills aligned to the 5, and a new A* grade aligned to grade 9. contribute to the overall grade. This means students must take Northern either CCEA or WJEC science A levels. The introduction of the grade C* will reduce the number of students achieving the new grade B. The grade B will align with the grade 6 in AS and A levels delivered by CCEA the numeric scale. The A* will be repositioned to align to a grade 9. Ireland Revised CCEA AS and A levels were first taught in Northern Ireland Proportionally fewer students will achieve an A* from 2019, and the from September 2015. Reform is largely around content. A levels grade 8 will fall between A* and A. offered in Northern Ireland continue to have an embedded AS qualification, however, the weighting has been reduced to 40%. Marks for science practical skills continue to form part of the overall A grade comparison table is provided on the next page. Further grade for science A levels offered by CCEA, and there is no separate information on qualification reform in Northern Ireland can be found in the UCAS qualification reform guide. grade. CCEA GCSE grading from 2019 New A*-G Structure 9-1 Structure Old A*-G Structure (summer 2019) (awarding phased in from 2017) (phased out from 2019) A* 9 A* 8 A A 7 B 6 B C* 5 C C 4 D D 3 E E 2 F F 1 G G
52 Number of respondents n=48 0 10 20 30 40 50 SUMMARY EXECUTIVE CCEA qualifications AQA qualifications FULL REPORT that your centre delivers? Pearson qualifications ENGLAND Awarding organisation OCR qualifications Which organisation offers the A levels WJEC qualifications SCOTLAND WALES IREL AND NORTHERN NEXT STEPS Numberof respondents n=48 0 3 6 9 12 15 Accounting Ancient history Ancient languages Art and design Biology Business SUMMARY EXECUTIVE Chemistry Chinese Subject provision from 2017/18 Classical civilisation Computer science Dance are not awarded by CCEA? Design and technolgy Drama and theatre FULL REPORT Economics Electronics English language English language and literature English literature Which A level subjects do you offer that ENGLAND Environmental science Film studies Further maths Geography Geology History SCOTLAND history of art Italian Law Maths Media studies WALES Modern foreign languages (Fresnh, German, Spanish) Music Music technology Philosophy Physical education Physics IREL AND Politics NORTHERN Psychology Religious studies Russian Sociology Statistics All of the above NEXT STEPS None of the above 53
EXECUTIVE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE NORTHERN 54 SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IREL AND NEXT STEPS SUMMARY FULL REPORT ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IREL AND NEXT STEPS 55 When offering non-CCEA A levels, we: To what extent do you feel universities and colleges understand qualification reform in Northern Ireland? 6% 13% 20% “ We are unsure that universities will understand our new GCSE grading and be able to compare it with the new English one, particularly as many teachers here do not yet understand. 53% Grammar school 40% 67% “ Some have a good understanding, but one or two haven’t. Offer the AS in all A level programmes Good understanding Offer the AS in some subjects Reasonable understanding Grammar school Not offer the AS at all Not very good understanding n=47 n=46
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