AQA is launching a new qualification for first teaching from September 2007: the FCSE
FCSE stands for Foundation Certificate of Secondary Education.
• FCSE tests may be taken by learners who have studied a course at National Curriculum Levels 4, 5 or 6.
• FCSEs are qualifications at Level 1 in the National Qualification Framework• FCSE assessments may be taken at anytime
• FCSEs are available only from AQA, in French, Spanish (2007 – restricted entry). German and Italian will be offered from 2008 onwards and open to all centres
• Pupils can progress from FCSE to GCSE.Assessment in FCSEs
• FCSEs are assessed by end-of-unit tests. Evidence from three of the twelve units must be submitted for moderation.
• Listening and Reading tests are externally-set and centre-assessed.
• Speaking and Writing tests are centre-set and centre-assessed.
• FCSE awards are graded Pass, Merit or Distinction.
Specification can downloaded from
• FCSE is suitable for a wide age range: primary, Key Stage 3 (years 7–9), Key Stage 4 (years 10–11) or adult learners.
• FCSE is available in French and Spanish (from September 2007 – first phase schools only) and French, Spanish, Italian and German (from September 2008 – for all).
•There is no prescribed content or vocabulary. Twelve units are arranged in four themes, corresponding to current GCSE themes.
• FCSE includes all four language skills: o listening o speaking o reading o writing.
• AQA provide externally-set, centre-assessed assignments in Listening and Reading and they plan to provide on-screen tests soon.
• Listening and Reading specimen materials in all four languages are available from the website:
Specimen listening in French
Speaking (non language specific)
Writing (non language-specific)
• Teachers set and mark the Speaking and Writing assignments. If teachers prefer not to set their own, they can use assignments supplied by us.
• There are three levels of award: o Pass o Merit o Distinction covering National Curriculum Levels 4, 5 and 6.
• Pupils attempt assignments when a topic has been covered, at different stages in the course, and can re-take if required.
• Teachers choose which units to cover and send us evidence from three of them for moderation. • AQA claims that the administrative procedures are kept simple: paperwork is minimal and under the teacher's control.
• Formal recognition of the achievement of individual units can be gained through the Unit Award Scheme.
The AQA Unit Award Scheme provides the opportunity to give students formal recognition of their success in short units of work. The Scheme promotes effective teaching and learning by ensuring that those writing and delivering units give careful consideration to learning outcomes, evidence and assessment and by setting down clear targets for students.
Success in each unit is recognised on an ongoing basis through the issue of a Unit Award Statement which details the outcomes demonstrated by the student in successfully completing the unit. This recognition of success has been shown to motivate students and improve their performance. Each student also receives a summary Letter of Credit which lists, by title, all the units he/she has completed.