Another year of A-level results. Attention has focused on the slight dip in performance levels particularly for As and A*s grades. Yet this is due to a ’comparative outcomes’ approach to assessment, introduced by Michael Gove during his ransacking of state education. Gove considered that examination boards where deliberately manipulating grade boundaries and causing ‘grade … Continue reading Another year of A-level results
This years A-level cohort is the first to take the new style qualifications – part of wider changes introduced by Michael Gove to make exams ‘fit for purpose’. Gove ended the AS level as a half way point to a full award and set strict limits on the amount of coursework – most subjects would be … Continue reading A-level. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
After months of concern, alarm bells are ringing over accreditation of new A-level syllabuses http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/dec/02/headteachers-criticise-government-chaotic-a-level-reform-delays Maths and further maths have been put back a year to 2017, while chemistry and English literature syllabuses, due to be taught from 2105 have yet to be given the green-light by Ofqual. With continued doubts about the new GCSEs also … Continue reading Gove’s exam reforms may still come off the rails
Another year of university ‘clearing’ swings into gear; but it now takes a very different form compared to when originally established to help those who had missed out on their grades having a second opportunity to gain a place elsewhere. Despite tuition fee hikes and Coalition members continuing to ‘talk up’ failing apprenticeships as an … Continue reading A-level of uncertainty
On the day that 300,000 students received their results, Stephen Twigg, Labour’s spokesperson – not usually prone to intervening in debates about education (!) – criticised the Coalition’s decision to make changes to A-levels, making them linear rather than modular with end of course exams, but also committed Labour to restoring AS level as a … Continue reading A-level stampede continues as Twigg defends the AS
The huge media coverage of the GCSE grading scandal particularly in English, meant A-level results received less attention than usual this year. Like GCSE there were signs of things to come with a 0.4% decline in the percentage of A/A* awards; even if the total percentage grades A*-E continued to increase - by 0.2 per … Continue reading A-level of expediency? (Soft and Hard, Vocational and Academic Part 2)
Michael Gove’s call for increased involvement by elite universities in formulating A-level examination questions attracted both media attention and considerable controversy, yet it’s consistent with Gove’s more general intentions for A-level - replacing modular assessment with end of course examinations, ranking some subjects above others in terms of difficulty and reducing the importance of ‘process’ skills in favour … Continue reading A level of discontent
Martin Allen NUT 14-19 discussion paper (For an update on A-level developments see https://radicaled.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/a-level-of-expediency/) Comprehensive schools have fought hard to build up their sixth-forms. The early comprehensive reformers were critical of A-level- an examination designed for a small minority of post-war school students. Yet as Caroline Benn and Clyde Chitty recognised Thirty-years on comprehensive schools ‘accommodated … Continue reading A-level: From ‘academic and vocational’, to ‘soft and hard’.
Martin Allen * Proponents of Tomlinson style reform of 14-19 education may have been encouraged by last year’s announcement of new diploma lines in more traditionally academic subjects - humanities, science and languages- alongside the original 11 diplomas in more directly vocational areas, yet there is still no evidence of the … Continue reading The Pre-U Won’t Do
Martin Allen, letter, The Guardian 23/07/08 The real issue for Greg Watson (Cambridge exam chief...Guardian 22/07 http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/jul/22/alevels.gcses) is that too many young people are now passing A-levels, a qualification originally designed for the elite few. Faced with the demands of Government's 'standards agenda', teachers increasingly 'teach to test', but it is also the case that … Continue reading Responses to Cambridge Exams Pre-U