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 Definition Academic qualification taken in the United Kingdom, primarily by those at 18. [d] [e]
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Related programs in other countries?

Can any reasonable comparison be set between A-levels and the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs?

Ofqual, I must say, sounds rather Orwellian. --Howard C. Berkowitz 17:42, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Some schools in Britain now offer the International Baccalaureate (or some strange European offspring thereof). As for a comparison with Advanced Placement - it isn't quite there. AP courses are an optional, more advanced course that can be taken along with high school courses in the US. Britain used to have something like this called an 'S' level, although I cannot remember what it stands for. It has now been replaced with a qualification called an Advanced Extension Award. The difference between an AP course and an A-level is that A-levels are generally taken between age 16 and 18 - that is, after compulsory education has finished. AP courses, as far as I'm aware, are taken alongside other courses as part of mandatory high school education, and so would - in terms of administration - be more like an advanced GCSE course rather than an A-level. (Like the old British 'CSE'/'GCSE' distinction.)
Academically, though, they are equivalent in as much as both are final qualifications taken before admission to higher education.
Ofqual is very Orwellian: but it is part of the naming schemes for lots of British regulators. The telecommunications regulator used to be called Oftel, and was then renamed to Ofcom ('com' being short for 'communication' - it also covered broadcast media, the Internet and so on). The water regulator was known as Ofwat and the energy regulator is Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets). The government also set up a completely ineffective regulator of alternative and complementary medicine called the Complementary and Natural Health Council, which quite a lot of us skeptical types have unofficially christened 'Ofquack'. Despite being the country of Orwell, our penchant for Newspeak names is undiminished.
(As to how I know this kind of trivia: I've had to help two family members through the university admissions process. One of those family members was my own mother, and we had a hell of a time trying to convert her school qualifications from the late 60s and early 70s into the electronic application system used by UCAS. In addition, throughout my youth, my year in school and the one immediately above became the guinea pig generation of educational reform: we've been subjected to more hare-brained experiments by successive governments than I care to remember. Curriculum 2000 was the Blair government's very own No Child Left Behind Act, thankfully limited only to 16-18 year olds.) –Tom Morris 01:24, 18 September 2010 (UTC)