- Will Awarding Organisations provide a test environment for homegrown centres?
- How do I ask a question or raise an issue?
- Do we have to implement the A2C transport?
- Do you have example xml for each transaction type?
- Are product catalogues available?
- Will there be more changes to the A2C spec?
- When will the data model be frozen?
- Will systems be certified as A2C compliant?
- Do we have to implement all the A2C transaction types?
- Where do I get the A2C Transport Application?
- Will the A2C Transport Application be supported?
- Most of our entries are GCSE/GCE. Do we have to use A2C for occasional vocational qualifications?
- Do we have to validate orders against the product catalogue?
- What should we do with feedback messages?
- Why have you changed terminology?
Will Awarding Organisations provide a test environment for homegrown centres?
Yes. Please contact the Awarding Organisations you deal with to arrange access to their test environment. Contact details are on the Implementation Forum sharepoint site.
How do I ask a question or raise an issue?
Once you have access to the Implementation Forum you can raise questions on the discussion board.
Do we have to implement the A2C transport?
No. JCQ is offering an enhanced Migration Application which will be able to transmit A2C xml files.
Do you have example xml for each transaction type?
Example xml is available from the Shared Documents area on the Implementation Forum
Are product catalogues available?
Each Awarding Organisation has published a product catalogue with example products which can be used for testing. These are available from the Shared Documents area on the Implementation Forum.
Will there be more changes to the A2C spec?
The spec will be issued annually. We will continue to include clarifications arising from questions raised by implementers even if there are no actual changes.
When will the data model be frozen?
The data model will never be frozen. However it is under strict change control and will continue to be aligned with ISB. Any data model changes will be notified to implementers as part of an update to the spec, which will be annually in January.
Will systems be certified as A2C compliant?
There is no certification for A2C. You will need to test your A2C implementation.
Do we have to implement all the A2C transaction types?
You only need to implement the transaction types that you will use. For example, if you do not use Test Resource Bookings (TRB) you do not need to implement these transaction types.
Where do I get the A2C Transport Application?
The A2C Transport Application is available to be downloaded from http://a2c.staging.avcosystems.com/Download.
This is the application that will be used by homegrown centres that are not implementing an integrated transport. It allows A2C xml files to be transferred. It is an enhancement to the A2C Migration Application which you already have.
This version will not be rolled out to centres with commercial MIS systems.
There is both a FileTypes.config (with the new action codes for v2.0) and awardingbodies.config (which contains details of the test AO endpoints used for integration testing).
Will the A2C Transport Application be supported?
Yes JCQ will continue to support the A2C Migration Application for any homegrowns wishing to use it.
Most of our entries are GCSE/GCE. Do we have to use A2C for occasional vocational qualifications?
You can implement the GQ elements of A2C and use your MIS for GCSE and GCE entries and use alternative means (eg AO extranet) for submitting other entries. More detail can be found in the "Twin Track Strategy" in Section 1 of the spec.
Do we have to validate orders against the product catalogue?
We recommend that validation is performed within your MIS so that your Exams Officer gets instant feedback and to reduce queries with the awarding organisations. However, if your Exams Officer is confident using offline guidance you could omit the validation and rely on validation by the Awarding Organisation systems. They will return feedback messages if there are any issues.
What should we do with feedback messages?
Some feedback messages are for Exams Officers to take action, and these should be brought to the EO's attention. We have attempted to make these messages intelligible to an exams officer. It is recommended that you provide them with a facility to manage feedback so they can see what is outstanding.
Some feedback messages are more technical and should be directed to the development team responsible for the MIS. You may wish to notify the Exams Officer that something has gone wrong but they are not expected to be able to take action themselves.
Why have you changed terminology?
One of the aims of A2C is to harmonise terminology across the Awarding Organisations and indeed across the education sector. Inevitably this has meant that some terms in common usage with individual AOs has had to change. The terms have been adopted by the Department for Education and in due course will be used by other systems.
Please see section 1 of the spec for details on harmonisation and Appendix 6 for a glossary.
It is recommended that you use the new terms where possible (and particularly in your database design) but it is up to you whether to expose the new terminology to users. In particular you may wish to differentiate the different types of "party" in your user interface (as "learner/student" etc).