Our response to A-Level Reform

All A Level qualifications are being changed at a national level, the AS qualification, which used to comprise 50% of the complete A Level, is being decoupled from A Level. This means that, whilst AS qualifications will still exist, they will not contribute to the overall A Level any more - they will be completely stand-alone qualifications. The new A Levels will be linear courses, which means that exams for them will all be at the end of a two year course.  This change is not all happening at once. Subjects are being moved to this linear model over a period of 3 years, according to the schedule below, so there will be a mix of old and new for a while.

EEHS all our students will take AS qualifications in all four subjects at the end of the first year and then choose which three to continue to A Level. Whilst we appreciate that this means that students will be reexamined on content in Year 13 that they were examined on in Year 12 we believe that this approach is desirable for the following reasons:

        

  • Motivation: some students may find it motivating to focus on an external assessment, leading to a qualification, at the end of the first year.
  • Flexibility: students can re-think their programme of study for the second year in the light of experience and results, enabling them to make better-informed, more mature choices about their area of specialisation and subsequent HE / career ambitions.
  • Breadth: students continue to develop a wider range of knowledge, skills and understanding.
  • Higher education institutions value the breadth offered by AS qualifications and currently use AS results in their admissions processes.
  • For students who are less confident about academic study, the AS could be seen as a stepping stone towards A Level, and evidence of achievement at the end of Year 12.

New AS and A level taught from:

First AS results issued :

First A level results issued:

Subjects

September 2015

Summer 2016

Summer 2017

art and design
biology
business
chemistry
economics
English literature
history
physics
psychology
sociology

September 2016

Summer 2017

Summer 2018

Geography
Modern Foreign Languages
PE
Philosophy and Ethics -religious studies

 

The following worked scenarios offer some examples of the how the ‘decoupling’ of A Levels will work in practice.

Scenario 1:A student is certain they want to take a full  A-level in a subject

Jess is certain she wants to do a full  A-level in History. This qualification supports her university entry requirements for her desired degree. She studies the AS  History course, sits her AS exam at the end of Year 12. Although the mark won’t count towards her A Level she is provided with experience of sitting KS5 exams and still has an AS qualification. She continues to study  A-level History in Year 13 and sits exams in June of her second year (Year 13). These exams cover both years’ content

Scenario 2: AS and A-level together

Simon is in the same class as Jess, but he is not sure if he wants to commit to a full A-level in History as he hasn’t yet decided which subjects are right for him. He chooses the AS in History and completes it in year one (Year 12). 

Simon found the AS in History really interesting and feels the course will help him in a future career. He decides to do the A-level in History. His AS does not count towards the A-level, so he completes his A-level studies in year two (Year 13) and sits all his A-level exams at the end of the year, in June. These exams cover both years’ content. 

Simon is well prepared for his A-level exams as he studied the first half of the required content during his AS year. The AS exams also gave him a test run, which made him feel confident that he wanted to complete the A-level. 

When Simon passes all his exams he has a qualification in AS and A-level History.

Scenario 3: AS qualification

Rob is in the same class as Simon and Jess. He studies an AS in History as he isn’t sure if he enjoys History enough to continue studying towards an A-level. Rob completes the course in year one (Year 12) and sits his exams. He passes, but decides that he is stronger in his other subjects so doesn’t continue with History. He has a qualification in AS History.