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A2C project update

iSAMS Blog

Following the recent public announcement from the JCQ regarding the future of the A2C project, we would like to provide our own statement on the project and our plans moving forward.

The A2C project is a JCQ initiative that intended to deliver on two key promises that would benefit the exams administration process.

Firstly, the proposed A2C transport specification would define how centres and awarding bodies could communicate directly in order to synchronise the data held in both parties’ systems. This would eliminate the need for intermediate 3rd party carriers (VANs) whose contracts were due to expire. The A2C Migration Tool was provided as an immediate but temporary carrier replacement whilst the full A2C project was ongoing.

The second major aspect of the project was to define new data standards that would provide awarding organisations with greater flexibility to model their products, and ultimately enrich the information shared between parties.

Where we are

iSAMS have been involved in the A2C project since early 2011. In February 2015, with the specifications matured, we committed significant development and financial resource- to developing a brand new A2C compliant exams module. This development continued until December 2015 when we were first informed of significant delays being introduced to the project due to insufficient awarding organisation readiness. Following these announcements, we decided to suspend our development until the future of the project became clear.

Since then, the A2C project has drastically changed in terms of scope, deliverables and stakeholder collaboration. What started out as a harmonisation project, to define a single standard for all awarding organisations to adhere to, has now splintered due to varying levels of commitment from interested parties.

As the official JCQ statement outlines, the project now aims to deliver the transport part of the project, and the new data standards will be focused on Vocational Qualifications only. There are no firm commitments for using the new data standards for General Qualifications at this time.

The existing EDI specification is expected to be supported by all awarding organisations in the meantime.

Our plans

Given that we had frozen new development on our existing Exams Manager module due to A2C, we have decided to re-evaluate our priorities.

We have put all A2C development on hold for the foreseeable future. This includes any work to bring an integrated transport solution into iSAMS. Centres can continue to use the official A2C Migration application as normal, which will continue to be supported by the JCQ.

If the project or market landscape changes and there is a clear path forward that will bring benefits to our clients, we will reassess appropriately.

In the meantime, we will once again be considering enhancements to the existing Exams Manager module, with the aim to bring tangible benefits to our client schools.