Turning education and skills policy into practice

Aligning applied GCSEs to diplomas

Mapping of applied GCSEs to diploma principal learning content

This project for the QCDA, in spring 2010, focused on mapping content of applied GCSEs to the principal learning of selected Diplomas to assess the extent to which the two qualifications aligned and/or overlapped. A secondary objective was to provide a judgement on whether learners would be able to progress between the two qualification pathways.

The work drew on the skills and expertise of AlphaPlus associates, tailoring their subject specialist knowledge to the six applied GCSEs reviewed:

  • Hospitality and catering
  • Health and social care
  • Applied art and design
  • Performing arts
  • Leisure and tourism
  • Physical education

Each applied GCSE was reviewed against the relevant Diploma(s), for example the applied GCSE in Health and Social Care was reviewed against both the Diploma in Society, Health and Development and the Diploma in Public Services. Reviews were carried out against both foundation and higher levels of each Diploma.

The applied GCSE specifications reviewed were selected to ensure coverage of a range of AOs (where more than one AO offered the qualification).

A summary report was written to present:

  • an overview of the structure of the applied GCSE qualification and that of the related Diploma/s
  • where the qualifications have areas of overlap
  • what gaps in topic coverage exist between the applied GCSEs and the corresponding Diploma principal learning and the significance of such gaps.
  • where applied GCSEs could be used as they stand to complement the Diploma provision
  • how easily learners studying the current suite of applied GCSE programmes could progress on to Diploma lines of learning
  • what, if any, changes would be required in the future to the content of the applied GCSEs (or the Diploma principal learning) to achieve full alignment.

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John Winkley, Director

0161 238 4928