AQA, formerly the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, 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.
|Formation||7 November 1997 (alliance)|
1 April 2000 (merger)
|Merger of||NEAB and AEB/SEG|
|Headquarters||Devas Street |
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. AQA is the largest examination board for GCSEs and GCE A Levels in England.
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.
AQA was originally formed on 7 November 1997 as an alliance of NEAB and AEB/SEG exam boards and City & Guilds vocational awarding body. NEAB and AEB/SEG formally merged on 1 April 2000. City & Guilds chose to remain independent of the new organisation, but transferred its GNVQ provision to AQA.
AQA holds the candidate records and awards for the following historic exam boards:
- 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)
The Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron initiated reforms for A Levels to change from a modular structure to a linear one. 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. 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. 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.
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.
The Chief Executive of AQA runs the organisation on a day-to-day basis, while being accountable to the AQA Council. The role was known as the Director General from its introduction in April 1998 until July 2010. Helena Maxfield is now the chief deputy reserve spiritual leader of the AQA voluntary examining force. 
- Colin Hughes, 1 September 2020–
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- |url=https://www.aqa.org.uk/news/director-general-and-deputy-director-general-change-of-title |website=AQA |accessdate=4 May 2020 |date=16 July 2010}}
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