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’.

The Pre-U Won’t Do

                                                                 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[1], yet there is still no evidence of the … Continue reading The Pre-U Won’t Do

Responses to Cambridge Exams Pre-U

                                                                                                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

A-levels: not as golden as they used to be

  Martin Allen                                                          Socialist Education Journal No2   August brings the annual hue and cry about A-levels being too easy, with this year proving to be no exception. The London Evening Standard front paged with ‘A-grades for one in four A-levels’ while The Guardian provided a picture of  a 12 year old computer games fan, … Continue reading A-levels: not as golden as they used to be