AS/A2 learning (Level 3)
The A Level, or “Advanced Level” is the standard and most common, academic, English, level 3 qualification and will continue, although it is being revised. A levels are generally a two year course. In recent years, they have consisted of an AS or “Advance Subsidiary” level being obtained within the first year, which leads on to the A2 or full A Level. This is changing and from 2015, the AS Level will be “de-coupled” (becoming a totally separate qualification) in many subjects. The following year, in 2016, the other subjects will follow and the AS will be a totally separate qualification for all subject areas. Almost all A Levels will continue to offer a range of different assessments including a coursework element and end of course external examinations. Since 2013, all exam units are assessed in the summer, May/ June, assessment period (the previous practice of sitting some unit exams in January each year is no longer possible).
BTECs are vocational qualifications designed to give students the skills they need to either move on to higher education or go straight into employment. They allow more freedom for students to co-create the programme of study and include modules that are more suited to practical learners who are well-organised and good at collecting and collating evidence of their learning. The assessment for these courses is generally continuous over the programmes of study, with students developing their portfolio of evidence in each unit. As part of the learning, the Students develop deep, specialist, practical skills and understanding.
For more information about BTEC courses, please see the Pearson BTEC website.
BTECs at Level 3
These courses are vocationally related qualifications that can be taught alongside A level subjects or as an alternative to A levels. They are accepted as an entry requirement for many universities and further education colleges and are valued by employers.