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AS and A levels

Everything about A levels, including links to the criteria for first teaching from September 2008.

Last updated: 10 December 2009

A levels are the qualifications that the majority of young people use to gain entry to university. They consist of advanced subsidiary (AS) and A2 units. Each year over 780,000 A levels and 1 million AS qualifications are awarded. A levels are available in more than 80 subjects, 10 of which follow a more applied approach. About AS and A levels  provides more information.


The future of A level mathematics

QCDA is currently developing criteria for new AS and A level mathematics qualifications for teaching from September 2012. We want to work with the education community and subject experts to make sure these qualifications help learners to progress to higher education and employment.

We worked with subject experts and representatives from the mathematics community to develop criteria for consultation over the summer.

QCDA held a series of focus group meetings around the country in November and December 2009 to find out what people think about some of these proposals in more detail. We are now using the feedback from these focus groups to help inform the way forward. We would like to thank everyone who gave up their time to attend.


Revised criteria introduced in September 2008

AS and A level criteria were revised following the review of A levels in 2005. The criteria for all subjects except mathematics are available from Ofqual’s site. Follow the related link on the right. Mathematics subjects are on a different timeframe. The criteria are currently being revised and the new specifications will come into force in 2012.


Extended project

A level students can take an extended project qualification alongside their A levels. An extended project is about the size of half an A level and develops students’ research and independent learning skills. You can find out more about the development of the extended project on the QCDA website.


Help and advice

The General Qualifications Support Programme is a new package of free support for all 16-19 teaching centres and their senior leaders and curriculum designers. The programme will help you to implement an innovative and integrated curriculum offer for the revised A levels and the extended project qualification.

For useful contacts and links to awarding bodies, regulatory authorities and other helpful organisations, see Whos who in AS and A level

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