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Detail of outcome
Conditions and requirements
We proposed that all reformed AS and A level qualifications in philosophy should comply with the subject content requirements published by the Department for Education, and with our assessment objectives.
Respondents generally supported this proposal and, having reviewed our proposed Condition following consultation, we are satisfied that it is fit for purpose and consistent with our overall approach to reformed AS and A level qualifications. We have therefore decided to adopt the Condition unchanged.
We proposed to introduce guidance on the interpretation of our assessment objectives.
One respondent (an organisation) expressed concern that the wording of our proposed guidance could lead to narrowing of the subject content. The respondent suggested ways we could improve the wording to ensure the guidance aligns fully with the subject content.
In response to these comments, we have decided to make changes to the drafting of the guidance on assessment objectives to make sure there is full coverage of the subject content (and consistency with other AS and A level subjects), but have not changed the substance of our proposals.
One respondent to our consultation made comments relating to the subject content requirements published by the Department for Education. The subject content was subject to an earlier consultation by the Department for Education, and the issues raised were outside the scope of this consultation.
One respondent to our consultation made comments relating to the length of assessments in AS and A level philosophy, particularly the impact that long assessments may have on students with certain disabilities. We have not proposed to set any requirements relating to the length of AS and A level philosophy assessments. In the absence of such a requirement, it is for the exam boards to determine the appropriate length of assessments in this subject. This is consistent with the approach we have taken in other subjects, and we remain of the view that we should not set any requirements relating to the length of assessments in AS and A level philosophy.
Detail of feedback received
There were six responses to the consultation – four from individuals and two from organisations.
One individual commented only on the subject content for AS and A level philosophy, which was out of scope for this consultation.
One of the organisations did not comment directly on our proposals, but instead provided general comments on the process for reform of GCSEs, AS and A levels.
Respondents broadly supported our approach, and our proposed conditions and guidance. One respondent (an organisation) suggested changes to our proposed guidance on assessment objectives, to ensure the guidance did not narrow the coverage of subject content.
This consultation is about the rules and guidance we plan to put in place for new AS and A levels in philosophy. These rules will apply to the new philosophy AS and A levels that will be taught in schools in England from September 2017.
This consultation takes forward decisions made following our earlier consultation ‘Development of new GCSEs and A levels for teaching from 2017’, and is part of Ofqual’s work supporting the government’s changes to GCSEs, AS and A levels.