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Stretch and Challenge is designed to allow the brightest students the opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of their knowledge and skills. Stretch and Challenge questions will support the awarding of A* grade at A Level, addressing the need for greater differentiation between the most able students.
Chair of Examiners David Swainston, who has worked for OCR over the last seven years, spoke about Stretch and Challenge: "I'm very positive about Stretch and Challenge because we have written good quality qualifications and I'm confident that we have got the A* grade right.
"It's a totally new style of qualification to identify better quality and higher-performing students for the universities and it will be exciting to see it put into practice."
For more information about the A* grade at A Level, see our FAQ sheet below:
Having reviewed the impact of the introduction of Stretch and Challenge across all subject areas with both internal colleagues and teachers, we do not anticipate that this will represent a major change in the majority of subjects.
Although not previously a formal part of the A Level qualification, teachers in most subjects have already been teaching Stretch and Challenge skills and content to students to ensure that they achieve their maximum potential at examination.
We see Stretch and Challenge as being about the recognition of existing practice rather than the introduction of a new initiative.
There will be no additional papers or optional questions for Stretch and Challenge – it will be assessed within existing A2 question papers. Awarding bodies will achieve this through:
The A* grade will be achieved by candidates who have a grade A (at least 80% of the uniform marks for the whole A Level) and who also have 90% of the uniform marks of the A2 units added together.
The introduction of Stretch and Challenge will not impact on the other grade boundaries, as it only affects the part of the question above grade A.
While we do not believe that the introduction of Stretch and Challenge will represent a major change to content and teaching in the majority of subject areas, we will be supporting the introduction of Stretch and Challenge via a number of channels:
Teachers can be assured that we will be monitoring the introduction of Stretch and Challenge closely and taking the necessary steps to ensure its success by providing information, advice and guidance promptly.