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The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA)[1] 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. However, its qualifications and exam syllabi are regulated by the Government of the United Kingdom, which is the regulator for the public examinations system in England and Wales.

Assessment and Qualifications Alliance
AQA Education
Private Limited Company by guarantee without share capital use of 'Limited' exemption
IndustryExam Board
Founded1997 Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersUniversity of Manchester, Manchester and Stag Hill, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom
Area served
Northern Ireland
Key people
Mark Bedlow (interim CEO) Edit this on Wikidata

AQA is one of five awarding bodies which are recognised by schools across the country. AQA is also 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 and which includes the study of three A-Levels, an extended project and extra-curricular enrichment activities.[2] AQA is the largest examination board for GCSEs and GCE A Levels in England.[3]

AQA administration office, Guildford

The organisation has several regional offices, the largest being in London, Guildford and Manchester.[4] The current Chief Executive Officer of AQA is Toby Salt.

Due to the growing number of students taking GCSE and A Level exams, AQA has introduced computerized and digital marking in addition to traditional marking of examinations in order to increase efficiency and accuracy of the examination correction.[5]


AQA was originally formed as an alliance of NEAB and AEB / SEG exam boards and City & Guilds vocational awarding body. NEAB and AEB/SEG (but not City & Guilds) formally merged. City & Guilds continues to cooperate with AQA, and the AQA holds some candidate records for the City & Guilds. The AQA also holds the candidate records and awards for the following historic exam boards:

Incorporated examination boardsEdit

  • Associated Examining Board (AEB)
  • Associated Lancashire Schools Examinations Board (ALSEB)
  • Joint Matriculation Board (JMB)
  • Northern Examining Association (NEA)
  • Northern Examinations and Assessment Board (NEAB)
  • North Regional Examinations Board (NREB)
  • North West Regional Examinations Board (NWREB)
  • North West Secondary Schools Examinations Board (NWSSEB)
  • Southern Examining Group (SEG)
  • South Eastern Regional Examinations (SEREB)
    • University of Bristol School Examinations Council (UBSEC)
  • South West Regional Examinations Board (SWREB)
  • Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Examinations Board (YHREB)
    • Yorkshire Regional Examinations Board (YREB)
    • The West Yorkshire and Lindsey Regional Examinations Board (TWYLREB)

Examination reformEdit

The Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron initiated reforms for A Levels to change from a modular structure to a linear one.[6] British examination boards (Edexcel, AQA, OCR and WJEC) regulated and accredited by the Government of the United Kingdom responded to the government's reform announcements by modifying syllabi of several A Level subjects.[7] However, the Labour Party and in particular the Member of Parliament Tristram Hunt announced that it would seek to halt and reverse the reforms and maintain the modular A-Level system.[8] Labour's policy, and the modular AS- and A-Level system, are supported and promoted by the University of Cambridge and by the University of Oxford.[9][10]

The organisation announced that it will begin offering courses 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.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ AQA | About us
  2. ^ "AQA – Overview of the AQA Baccalaureate". Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  3. ^ Assessing candidates on future potential | Resource library | Talent Q
  4. ^ AQA | Contact us | Contact us | Our offices
  5. ^ How do examiners decide grades? | Schools Week
  6. ^ [ARCHIVED CONTENT] Changes to A levels - The Department for Education
  7. ^ Edexcel A levels | Pearson qualifications
  8. ^ Labour pledges to halt A-Level reforms
  9. ^ Cambridge urges schools to enter students for AS-levels - BBC News
  10. ^ Oxford raises concerns over A-level exam reform - BBC News
  11. ^ "BBC News - AQA exam board to bring in exam-only GCSEs in England". 27 September 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2011.