Assessment and Qualifications Alliance
|Purpose/focus||Awarding Body, Examination Board and Education Charity|
|Region served||England, Wales and Northern Ireland|
AQA (Previously, Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) is an Awarding Body in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It compiles specifications and holds examinations in various subjects at GCSE, AS and A Level and offers vocational qualifications. AQA is a registered charity and independent of the Government. It is regulated by Ofqual, which is the regulator for the public examinations system in England and Wales.
AQA is one of five Awarding Bodies which are recognised by the regulators of the public exams systems for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to offer GCSE, AS and A Levels in the United Kingdom. AQA also offers the AQA Baccalaureate, a qualification also intended for students in Year 12 and 13.
AQA began as an alliance of the Associated Examining Board/Southern Examining Group (AEB/SEG), Northern Examinations and Assessment Board (NEAB) and City & Guilds' GNVQ qualification in November 1997. In September 1998, it was registered as an educational charity. AEB/SEG and NEAB agreed to formally merge in October 1999, with this happening in April 2000.
In September 2010, the organisation announced that it will begin offering courses from September 2012 for which all assessment is carried out through examinations at the end of the course. This is commonly referred to as a Linear Course. Beforehand, they offered modular courses in England with several exams.
2010 examination marking issue
On 4 October 2010, The Daily Telegraph reported that hundreds of exam scripts were marked incorrectly. The marking discrepancies were discovered in late September after it emerged that there were problems with AQA's electronic marking system which in turn meant that portions of the scripts were not marked at all and this was not flagged up by their systems either.
It was reported that 600 GCSE and GCE exam scripts were affected by this issue.
The exams watchdog Ofqual has launched an inquiry and AQA has also investigated the issue. A small number of students received lower grades than they should have and this was rectified following the AQA investigation. AQA also extended the deadline for results enquiries for those students affected. However as a direct result of this error thirteen A-level students missed out on their first choice university. The problem was compounded by AQA contacting UCAS on 30 September 2010 after clearing had finished even though the organisation were aware of the problem on 17 September 2010. AQA's chief executive, Andrew Hall, stated "We deeply regret the original marking issue and are determined to ensure that it doesn't happen again."
Like its competitors AQA offers a substantial range of GCSE courses ranging from Dance to Mandarin. Many of these courses offer both modular and linear assessment options. More recently due to Government changes a Linear approach is more common.
- "AQA – Overview of the AQA Baccalaureate". Aqa.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- "BBC News - AQA exam board to bring in exam-only GCSEs in England". Bbc.co.uk. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- Paton, Graeme (2010-10-04). "Inquiry into A-level and GCSE marking blunder". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- "BBC News - AQA exam board faces GCSE and A-level marking inquiry". Bbc.co.uk. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- "AQA – News Item". Aqa.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- "Marking error meant students missed out, says Ofqual report". News & announcements. ofqual. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Sellgren, Katherine (23 February 2011). "Students 'missed out' over exam board marking errors". BBC. Retrieved 10 August 2013.