The first stage in a planned shakeup of A-levels will end the option of taking exams in January in an attempt to curb a “resit culture” where pupils sit papers on the assumption they will always get another chance, the exams watchdog has announced. This is from the Guardian…
In the most significant initial change to the qualification following a three-month consultation into the future of A-levels, Ofqual announced that pupils in England starting A-level and AS-level courses from September will only be able to sit exams in June. This is the first part of a wider proposed change to the system of pre-university qualification, which could eventually see them take on many of the characteristics of the international baccalaureate (IB) system.
Other proposals, such as more involvement from universities in the design of the qualifications, and broader changes to the structure of the exams, are still being considered, Ofqual said. But there was opposition to the idea of universities approving particular A-levels over others.
Glenys Stacey, Ofqual’s chief regulator, said the consultation process – which received almost 1,000 responses – found broad support for some changes, notably summer-only exams.
She said: “The consultation followed on from Ofqual’s research into perceptions of A-levels. This showed that the qualifications are considered to be largely fit for purpose but that there were some structural changes that could be made to improve them. There were also concerns expressed by teachers, employers and universities over what they term a resit culture. Teachers in particular said that A-level students approach examinations with the expectation that they will always get a second chance.”
Stacey added: “Making improvements in these key areas is what this first phase is about and it has been widely welcomed by higher education and by many schools and colleges. The next phase will consider further structural changes to strengthen the A-level, how higher education will be involved in A-levels, and content changes where stakeholders deem that they are necessary.”
The majority of the consultation responses came from schools and colleges but also universities, exams boards and other higher education groups.