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Will A'levels be phased out?

(9 Posts)
Cortina Fri 07-Oct-11 08:40:00

Will the IB eventually replace our A'level system?

In time will the IB be favoured by Unis? Easier to differentiate between candidates?

IGCSE is widely seen as more demanding than GCSE. In time will a two tier system operate, IGCSE versus GCSE such as things used to be with O'level/CSE?

iggly2 Fri 07-Oct-11 09:48:00

They need to do something the standard of exams here are awful, I do not envy universities having to select from so many (equally qualified) candidates.

scaryteacher Fri 07-Oct-11 14:06:28

I hope not - I would have completely failed IB, as I have CSEs in Chemistry and Maths, and science is pretty much a closed book to me. I did A levels in History, French lang and lit and English lit. My BA is in Theology and Philosophy, and I teach Humanities.

IB is setting kids up to fail who have a strong humanities or scientific bent; A levels cater for that. There is also the option for schools of the Pre U, if they don't want to go the IB route.

I would like to see A levels going back to being A levels as they were - a two year course, without this AS crap, and all these modules. The two year course allows the kids time to grow and develop. AS imo stifles that and doesn't allow for the breadth and depth that the old A levels did.

Cortina Fri 07-Oct-11 14:19:06

I am noticing more going over to IB or at least IGCSE as this is thought more academically rigourous? I am more of a specialist, like you Scaryteacher.

Thing is I believe Unis are going to be increasingly looking for intelligent, internationally minded all rounders who then want to specialise at university.

I can't see A'levels going back to how they were.

chrchrch Fri 07-Oct-11 14:29:46

A similar move to iGCSEs is the one to Pre-U for subjects where A level is as unchallenging as the GCSE. MFLs come to mind. Sciences and Maths look still ok at A Level despite iGCSEs being almost standard for some schools. There's hope yet for DCs who have less tolerant palates, and would rather leave school than do the IB. I can see the IB may suit some and bring out their talents, but to say it's more rigorous... it isn't exactly polymath level, is it?

Cortina Fri 07-Oct-11 14:54:01

I think in terms of making a distinction IB is easier - points make differentiation easier. With A'levels increasingly you are dealing with a clutch of A stars.

happygardening Fri 07-Oct-11 16:17:53

My DS independent school does only the Pre U for all subjects bar 2 - 3 they were finding that boys were doing loads of A levels and that the course they were following wasn't suffiiecently joined up or challenging enough. The Pre u is apparently much harder and in fact the boys only take three because four has been found to be too much work. There has been complaints from parents at other schools that the Pre U is not accepted by UK universitys but my DS school has sent nearly 40% to oxbridge this year so they are obviously not finding this the case.

Lizcat Fri 07-Oct-11 16:42:23

Unis are actually spreading the net wider than just A-levels and IB. Many vocational courses like National Diplomas are accepted. I just did some research for a careers fair I am doing for Vet Medicine and found that there is quite a range of other qualifications that are accepted. So for me personally I don't think either will disappear, but that Unis will increasing look for more than just grades. I believe they will be looking for well rounded individuals who have other interests and have gained a variety of appropriate work experience - this is already the case with the Vet Medicine course.

LapsedPacifist Fri 07-Oct-11 17:15:43

Well believe it or not, when you are over 21 you are classed as a mature student and none of the usual rules apply. Universities can and do accept mature students without any formal qualifications whatsoever, provided applicants can convince them they are up to the course.

Now THERE's a thought - all this angsty stress about A level and even GCSE grades just might not be necessary. With the right mix of life/work experience and self-directed study for a few years after leaving school, even non-AAA students can <gasp!> get into Really Good Unis.

Or alternatively, go for a 2 year Foundation degree course, then continue on to the 3rd year of an honours degree. You will still be eligible for exactly the same grants and loans as an Oxbridge candidate.

There are many routes onto (reputable, academic) degree -level courses. What you achieve at 18 doesn't necessarily define the rest of your life.

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