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Foundation, Higher and Extended Project Qualifications - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Foundation, Higher and Extended Project Qualifications. QCA. Background. The 14-19 White Paper (DfES, February 2005) set out the Government’s intention to offer an extended project to stretch all young people at advanced level and test a wider range of skills. This was described as:

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  • The 14-19 White Paper (DfES, February 2005) set out the Government’s intention to offer an extended project to stretch all young people at advanced level and test a wider range of skills. This was described as:

    ‘a single piece of work, requiring a high degree of planning, preparation and autonomous working. The projects would differ by subjects, but require persistence over time and research skills to explore a subject independently and in real depth’.

  • Projects have been developed at:

    • Level 1: Foundation Project (60 glh)

    • Level 2: Higher Project (60 glh)

    • Level 3: Extended Project (120 glh)

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  • Foundation, Higher and Extended Projects are free-standing qualifications and may be taken by any students

  • They are mandatory components of the Foundation, Higher and Advanced Diplomas respectively.

  • The grading is as follows:

    • Foundation: A*-B

    • Higher: A*-C

    • Extended: A*-E

  • The Extended Project was piloted from 2006-2008

  • The Foundation and Higher Projects are being piloted from 2007-2009

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Characteristics of projects

  • Students

    • choose their own topic and plan their project

    • carry out research and select and use resources

    • develop the project to achieve their intended outcomes

    • carry out a full evaluation

    • present their findings

  • The project may have as its outcome:

    • a report of an investigation

    • a dissertation

    • an artefact

    • a performance

  • Projects may involve group projects, but the individual’s role needs to be clearly identified

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Teachers’ involvement in the delivery of projects

Teachers' involvement is:

  • to deliver the taught element, including the teaching of research skills, critical thinking skills, ethical issues, etc, and advising on project management

  • to support students in scoping the project to ensure that they will meet the criteria

  • to monitor student progress to ensure that they remain on target to complete the project by the due date

  • to mark the project (this will be externally moderated by the awarding body)

  • to authenticate the work as that of the student

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Extended Project

The Extended Project is a qualification that

  • is equivalent in size to about half of an A level

  • will provide a ‘tool kit’ of skills that better prepare students for higher education and employment

  • Carries UCAS points as follows:

    • A* 70 points

    • A 60 points

    • B 50 points

    • C 40 points

    • D 30 points

    • E 20 points

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Assessment of the extended Project

The following aspects will be assessed:

  • identifying, designing and planning the project

  • selecting, organising and using a range of resources; analysing data, applying findings and demonstrating understanding of any linkages, connections and complexities of the topic

  • selecting and using a range of skills to take decisions critically and achieve planned outcomes

  • evaluating all aspects of the project; using a range of communication skills and media to present the outcomes of the project

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When to take the extended project

There is flexibility as to when students take the Extended Project. For

example, it may be positioned:

  • as a culminating activity at the end of a course

  • in the middle of a scheme of work for a one-year course

  • towards the end of the first year of a two-year programme

  • to run over the end of the first year and the start of the second year of a two-year programme

    Students should be advised to target completion of the extended project

  • in their second year since they will have increased maturity and are likely to have developed their skills to a greater extent

  • at a time well removed from submission dates/examinations for other assessments in their programme to avoid conflicting pressures

  • at a time that will allow them to include reference to it in their UCAS application form

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Performance descriptions at the A*/A boundary

AO1 – Manage

  • Candidate has personally identified effective tasks and appropriate objectives, has justified their choice and has engaged with them

  • Project title is phrased as a clearly focused question, hypothesis or brief

  • The work is well-planned, well-organised, coherent and includes appropriate autonomous review and modification

    AO2 – Use Resources

  • A rich and varied range of sources of information is used critically and effectively

  • Research skills, technical language and/or specialist vocabulary are evident and well-developed

  • There is evidence of clear understanding of the complexities of the topic

  • There is evidence of synthesis through the making of relevant links to related areas

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Performance descriptions at the A*/A boundary

AO3 – Develop and Realise

  • There is considered response to guidance

  • There is reference to problems encountered and justification of action taken to address these

  • There is evidence of the development of skills and of clear understanding of the topic area

  • Candidate achieves a high quality and appropriate outcome that realises most of the intentions of the project

    AO4 – Review and Communicate

  • The candidate carries out an in-depth evaluation in relation to stated objectives and to own learning and performance

  • The outcomes are clearly presented, including findings and conclusions that are clearly related to the original objectives

  • The candidate makes use of a range of appropriate presentation skills

  • The candidate responds well to questions

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Examples of projects

  • A cultural comparison of Japanese Manga and American superhero comics

  • An investigation into why England experiences seismic activity

  • An investigation of the changes in architecture that took place over the years at Lilleshall Abbey

  • Anti-Bullying – What is bullying and what are its factors?

  • Are ASBOs an effective method of solving antisocial behaviour?

  • Are mobile phones affecting health?

  • Can science explain the nature of happiness?

  • Can we justify scientific research on animals?

  • Creating a database with an automatic ordering facility when stocks reach a certain level

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Examples of projects continued

  • Does a biographical reading of Mary Shelley’s novels add or detract from a greater understanding of her work?

  • How has life improved for black South Africans since the demise of apartheid?

  • How have advances in technology affected globalisation?

  • How important is body image in society today?

  • Is digital switch over akin to decimalisation?

  • Is graffiti art or vandalism?

  • Is surgery the answer to cosmetic defects?

  • Is the media to blame for causing Islamophobia?

  • Is the NHS as bad as the media portrays it to be?

  • Is surgery the answer to cosmetic defects?

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Examples of projects continued

  • Origins of animal life - God or Science?

  • Performing - Elton John (The student planned and put on a performance of Elton John's work, writing his own arrangements for performance by various ensembles)

  • Should Great Britain buy a replacement for Trident?

  • Should the abortion time limit be raised from 24 weeks to 28 weeks?

  • Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

  • What is the best solution to the quantum mechanical measurement problem?

  • What is the self-perception by Asians post 9/11?

  • Why is childbirth before marriage increasing?

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Guidance on the extended project

QCA has commissioned the production of guidance on the

introduction of the extended project, which was published

July 2008

  • Guidance for managers:

    • Guidance on Preparing for the Delivery of Level 1 and Level 2 Projects and Level 3 Extended Projects

  • Guidance for practitioners

    • an Introduction to Level 3 Extended Projects

    • an Introduction to the Level 2 Project

    • an Introduction to the Level 1 Project

      Guidance at:

      Information leaflet at:

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Hair and beauty exemplar

  • Ayisha wanted to know how different types of people responded to fashion images and how media campaigns in the beauty sector used images to target particular client groups.

  • She reviewed research on the use of images in marketing. She then did her own research by assembling a range of advertising images from magazines, promotional material, etc. and selecting a range of people to interview about their reactions to them. She chose people of different ages, and from different social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and asked them to explain which images they identified with and why, and which images would encourage them to buy a product or service. She found the results were complex and fascinating and sometimes very surprising.

  • She presented her findings as an analytical report (complete with images) in which she identified particular types of marketing image that appealed to specific consumer types and compared her own findings with those of other research. She did a full evaluation of the methodology that she had used.

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Business and finance exemplar

  • On his work experience, Hari encountered examples of the psychometric tests used as part of the recruitment process in some organisations. He decided to pose the question 'What is the value of psychometric testing within the selection process for employees?’

  • He undertook desk research to find out the origins and use of psychometric testing. He devised a questionnaire to determine which psychometric tests were used by personnel managers for which types of job and how much importance they placed on them in their selection processes. He sent them to a number of personnel managers, whom he subsequently interviewed. He also interviewed some candidates to learn their views on the tests and to determine whether they completed them honestly or to try to meet the requirements of the post. His work experience firm helped him to make the contacts.

  • He carried out a thorough analysis of the data he collected and drew conclusions on the value of the tests. The project combined Hari’s interest in business and psychology and his project presentation was made to his psychology class.

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Environment and land-based studies exemplar

  • Charlotte became interested in plant-breeding, particularly some of the rare exotic plants she encountered in the college’s greenhouses. As her project, she decided to undertake an orchid-breeding programme, using aseptic techniques and sowing and growing orchid seeds, to determine the feasibility of conserving rare species by breeding and raising them out of their natural habitat.

  • As part of her research, she visited the orchid house at The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and was able to interview one of the specialist orchid curators about her work and the importance of conserving rare species. She also visited the Eden Project to see how they were building their orchid collection and how they chose their stock. She filmed both visits.

  • In her report of the project, she produced a rationale for the importance of conserving rare species, a commentary on the process of growing the rare orchids and an evaluation of the success of the methods she had used in growing the plants. Her presentation took the form of an informative video.

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Hospitality exemplar

  • Greg decided to investigate quality in the provision of conference services. He researched what constituted high quality service and devised a questionnaire for customers to enable him to determine the quality of provision actually delivered.

  • He then researched local businesses to find what they offered and asked their permission to interview some of their clients. He also found some contacts of his own who allowed themselves to be interviewed – including individuals organising educational conferences and training. He used this information to compare the offer with customer aspirations and experience.

  • The outcomes were: a report on what constitutes good customer service in this field, together with a check-list of good practice for providers; an analysis of local provision of conference services; an analysis of client feedback on delivery of that provision; and an evaluation the methodology used. In his presentation of findings, he made recommendations on what local businesses should do to improve their services, both in term of what they offered and how they delivered them.

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Manufacturing and product design exemplar

  • Jade had an interest in the environmental benefits of different types of building products and their appropriate application in the building sector. Using windows as an example, she decided to find out what influences builders in their choice of product.

  • She first carried out detailed research on the range of products available, noting all of their characteristics, including the environmental impact of the materials used and of their insulating properties. Using the contacts she had made in her work experience she visited different construction sites and photographed the different types of windows being installed. She then interviewed the architects, using a prepared list of questions, to determine why they had selected their product and discussed with them the benefits and costs of their chosen type of window.

  • She presented her findings as a computer slide show with an accompanying audio commentary which explained her findings and included taped extracts from her interviews with the architects.