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Birth of a certificate?

Sir Ron's interim report maps out how academic and vocational paths could be developed for 16 to 19-year-olds.

CERTIFICATION AND COHERENCE

"To achieve greater coherence, an objective which is supported by providers of advanced-level education and training, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the CBI, consideration should be given to: * recording all achievement at foundation, intermediate or advanced levels on a common family of National Certificates; * exploring whether the advanced-level National Certificate should be limited to those satisfying certain conditions, such as the achievement of two A levels or equivalent plus the three GNVQ core skills mandatory in GNVQ; * creating a National Certificate for students who have substantial achievement demonstrating breadth and depth at advanced level, whether through vocational or academic qualifications or a combination of both.

* grading groups of units in the GNVQ equal in size to AS and A-levels, to increase the coherence of the framework and encourage courses combining academic and vocational qualifications; * investigating whether an awarding body or examining board might be able to recognise achievement with a different board or body in closely related subject areas, when a student changes pathways; * consulting the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service on its research into the feasibility of combining achievements in A-levels and vocational qualifications into an overall numerical score.

"Such moves on certification might help to improve the clarity, coherence and general comprehensibility of the framework of qualifications. Other measures to increase coherence which might be explored are: * considering the outcomes of the Gatsby Foundation Research into "Y-model" courses, which would allow students taking courses in subjects available in both A-level and GNVQ to follow a common programme of work in the early stages; * reviewing the scope for adopting a common structure for setting out the knowledge, understanding and skills required by different qualifications."

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