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5/29/13

Pearson offers new qualification to minimise impact on local learners.



Pearson-Edexcel Respond to UK’s A Level Changes with New Qualification

London, UK, Dubai, UAE, 29th May, 2013: Edexcel, part of the world’s leading education company, Pearson, has announced a new qualification which will help minimise any disruption experienced by schools and students in the Gulf region as a result of the UK Government and Ofqual’s A Level changes.


The UK’s Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove has introduced sweeping reforms to A Level courses and exams which lead to the General Certificate of Education. The systemic changes will change the way many A Level students in the GCC undertake their exams, says Mark Andrews, Pearson’s Regional Director of the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Under the changes, the January examination series has been removed, offering reduced re-sit opportunities. Modular assessment, a key feature of A Levels, is being replaced by linear assessment, where examinations will need to be taken at the end of the course.

However, the launch of Pearson’s new Edexcel International Advanced Level qualification will allow schools in the Gulf region to carry on offering both January and June exams, and to continue to offer a modular assessment structure in all the major A Level subjects, except for English.

A Levels,the most common gateway into UK universities and other higher education institutions, are the courses undertaken by students in the final two years of their secondary education, both in the UK, and in many other countries. The qualifications are recognised by universities around the world, making A Levels a popular choice for students in the Gulf region who want an internationally recognised qualification that is valued by universities in both the GCC, the UK and beyond.

Pearson currently offers its Edexcel GCE A Levels in schools throughout the GCC region. A significant number of these schools and their students have voiced concerns over the Secretary of State for Education’sreforms and what the changes will mean for their results.  Pearson is responding by developinga new suite of International Advanced Level qualifications for international customers that closely resembles the structure and format of Edexcel GCE A Levels.

Mr Andrews says that the Pearson Edexcel International Advanced Level qualifications are a positive alternative for schools who do not want to introduce the compulsory changes to the GCE A Levels. The quality and substance of the old and new programmes are almost identical, but the new qualification allows schools to continue to offer modular assessment, as well as June and January exams. He says:

“The new qualifications will allow students to continue to sit modular exams twice a year, and to undertake assessments at the end of each of their units. The subject content of the InternationalAdvanced Levels is closely matched to that of the current Edexcel GCE A Level courses, allowing schools to teach the new qualificationsusing their existing resources and reducing the stress usually involved in introducing new qualifications.

“Edexcel International Advanced Level qualifications have been written to the same rigorous standards as Edexcel GCE A levels, ensuring the qualifications are of the highest quality.”

Pearson has consulted the Russell Group, an advisory group of leading UK universities,during the development of the new International Advanced Levels to ensure they are written to the standard required for entry to universities in the UK and overseas.  Studentsachieving a Pearson Edexcel International Advanced Level will have a qualification that is recognised as a suitable alternative to the current Edexcel GCE A level and therefore valued by higher education institutions around the world.

Mr Andrews was keen to stress that schools currently offering the Pearson Edexcel GCE A Level can continue to do so, and Pearson will work closely with them to ensure the effects of the compulsory changes are kept to a minimum. Schools have the opportunity to offer both the Pearson Edexcel GCE A Level and the Pearson Edexcel International Advanced Level qualification if they wish.

Mr Andrews says: “It’s a question of maximising our partners’ choices.  We want our centres here to know that they can continue to offer the Pearson Edexcel GCE A Levels, and that Pearson is committed to helping them adjust to the linear exam system and the removal of theJanuary examination series. We are communicating with schools regularly and meeting withprincipals, to help them through this transitional periodand to support them in making a decision regarding which qualifications would work best for their school and students”.

The new International Advanced Level qualifications are available from September 2013. For more information on subject specifications, please visit: www.edexcel.com/ial