This was because it met a "definite need", meaning the A* grade was still not viewed as being challenging enough.
In 2018, Edexcel introduced a new specification, meaning the Advanced Extension Award in Mathematics will continue to be available to students in 2019 and beyond as a qualification aimed at the top 10% of students at A Level.
The Advanced Extension Awards are a type of school-leaving qualification in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, usually taken in the final year of schooling (age 17/18), and designed to allow students to "demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills to the full".
Currently, it is only available for Mathematics and offered by the exam board Edexcel, who renewed their specification in 2018 (for assessment in June 2019 and beyond) .
This came after the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) decided that the new A* grade being offered at A level will overlap with the purpose of the AEA, thus rendering them unnecessary.
However, the AEA in Mathematics was extended until June 2012, as confirmed by Edexcel and the QCA.
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Due to introduction of the A* grade for A Level courses starting September 2008 (first certification 2010), they have since been phased out, with the exception of the Advanced Extension Award in Mathematics which continues to be available to students.
in 2004, 50.4% of the 7246 entrants failed to achieve a grade at all (fail), indicating that the awards are fulfilling their role in separating the elite.