Download the full outcome
Detail of outcome
Most respondents agreed with most of our proposals. Pearson, the only exam board which currently offers an Advanced Extension Award (AEA), supported all our proposals.
In line with our consultation proposals, we have decided we will:
- continue to require AEAs to be accessible to students who have taken an A level in the corresponding subject, without requiring further study or learning
- continue to require AEAs to be more demanding than the corresponding A level, requiring students to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding
- continue to require AEAs to have two passing grades – ‘Merit’ and ‘Distinction’
- only permit AEAs in subjects where there is at least one A level offered in England, and require future AEAs to be based on the Department for Education’s subject content for the corresponding A level
- in line with reformed A levels, require future AEAs to use exam assessment, with non-exam assessment only used in subjects where we have expressly permitted it
- require exam boards when setting standards to use the same high-level approach we have adopted for reformed A levels
We have made a change to one of our proposals reflecting the responses we received to our consultation. We have decided we will:
- require future AEAs to reflect the assessment objectives we have set for the corresponding A level, placing greater emphasis on more demanding skills – for example, analysis, evaluation and problem solving.
We have also published our AEA qualification-level conditions and requirements and AEA qualification-level guidance.
Detail of feedback received
We consulted on updating our rules for Advanced Extension Awards to reflect reforms to A levels in England.
Our consultation took place from 8 February 2018 to 7 March 2018. It included 14 questions, and respondents could choose to answer all or just some of the questions.
We received 11 responses to our consultation – 8 from individuals and 3 from organisations. All responses were from individuals or organisations based in England or Wales.
In the main, respondents supported our proposed approach. However, views were more mixed on our proposed approach to:
- use of A level assessment objectives
- standard setting.
Advanced Extension Awards (AEAs) are qualifications taken alongside A levels, designed to stretch and challenge the most able students. Our rules permit AEAs in any subject, but there is currently only one available, in mathematics. Around 700 school-age students take this qualification each year. Some universities use it to inform entry decisions.
Maintaining comparability with previous qualifications
We continue to require AEAs to:
- be accessible to students who have taken an A level in the corresponding subject, without requiring any further study or learning
- be more demanding than the corresponding A level, requiring students to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding
- have two passing grades - Merit and Distinction
Reflecting A level reforms
- only permit AEAs in subjects where there is at least one A level offered in England
- require all future AEAs to be based on the Department for Education’s subject content for the corresponding A level
- also require AEAs to reflect the assessment objectives we have set for the corresponding A level, but with a greater emphasis on the skills of analysis and evaluation
- require AEAs to use exam assessment, with non-exam assessment only permitted in subjects where we consider it appropriate; in such cases, we would set regulations to specify the amount and form of any non-exam assessment
Our rules for setting grade boundaries in AEAs require exam boards to use the same principles we have adopted for reformed A levels. This will mean exam boards will need to have regard to an appropriate range of evidence when setting grade boundaries.