Summary of changes

This guide outlines the changes to AS and A-level Modern Foreign Languages qualifications in French, German and Spanish from our current specification to our new specification.

Our new specifications have been developed in line with the regulatory requirements provided by the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual. The content and skills of our new specifications build on what is studied at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4, and provide better progression onto further/higher education and employment.

Changes to AS and A-level French, German and Spanish

What’s new What’s gone What’s the same What’s changed
  • Content of year 1 of the A-level course and content of the AS course to be co-teachable but no overlap in assessment allowed and AS will not count towards A-level qualification.
  • One text or film to be studied for AS; one text and one film or two texts for A-level (texts and films to be set by exam boards). Students answer one question (from a choice of two) on the text(s)/film they have studied.
  • Critical thinking skills developed through critical analysis and evaluation of texts/films.
  • Independent research topic at A-level, assessed through the speaking test and an oral presentation.
  • Translation both into English and into the language of study at both AS and A-level.
  • Summarising information from spoken and written sources.
  • More focus on the culture and society of the countries where the language is spoken.
  • AS marks counting towards the A-level grade (AS is now a standalone qualification, but it is co-teachable with the A-level).
  • No language essay in the target language, other than one on the chosen set film/text(s).
  • The qualifications count for school/college performance tables and are recognised by UCAS for entry into higher education.
  • Dictionaries may not be used when taking any assessment or during any period of formal preparation time before the assessment.
  • Speaking tests (non-exam assessment) conducted either by a teacher at the school/college or by a visiting examiner.

The grammatical knowledge required for AS and for A-level is broadly the same as for the current specifications.

  • The study of a set text or film at AS (either one text and one film or two texts at A-level) is now compulsory. Literature is optional at AS, where students can choose to study a film rather than a text.
  • Greater emphasis on the culture and society of the language of study; students can no longer write/talk about themes in a general way, eg they could previously talk in French about homelessness in British cities.
  • Both AS and A-level have two written exams and a speaking test.