After record results last year, when almost one in five (19.1%) grades were A*, A-level top grades were down to 1 in 7 this time around, while the proportion of candidates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland receiving A or A* has fallen from 44.8% last year to 36.4%. The number of 'high-flyers' who got three A*s … Continue reading A-level results : when they were down, they were down……
Category: A-levels and the Pre-U
A-levels. Not as golden as they once were
In Post-16 Educator 104 http://post16educator.org.uk/ Created to replace the Higher School Certificate in 1951 and with only 3% of the cohort sitting them, A-levels continued to be elite or ‘gold standard’ qualifications, educationally narrow, with universities having a major influence over their syllabus content. Until 1953 A-levels were only graded as pass or fail, at … Continue reading A-levels. Not as golden as they once were
Another year of A-level results
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
A-level. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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.
Gove’s exam reforms may still come off the rails
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
A-level of uncertainty
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
A-level stampede continues as Twigg defends the AS
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
A-level of expediency? (Soft and Hard, Vocational and Academic Part 2)
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)
A level of discontent
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
A-level: From ‘academic and vocational’, to ‘soft and hard’.
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’.