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When we lose the AS staging post...

(8 Posts)
OddBoots Tue 31-Dec-13 09:53:36

As I understand it at the moment most young people going on the A Levels start with 4 AS levels then carry their best 3 on to A Level (with some exception but in general).

My DS is in Y10 so I don't think this will be an option for him so I'm not sure how to advise him and wondered what others were thinking of doing. He could start with 4 and see if he could carry all 4 through (assuming timetable space) or start with 3 or do 3 plus a planned AS or other smaller qualification.

I'm not sure if it makes a difference that Maths and Further Maths are in his list of A Levels he'd like to do.

noblegiraffe Tue 31-Dec-13 11:01:40

No one knows yet, not enough details have been released. If he is doing maths and further maths they won't be linear till 2016 so he will still have the option of dropping further maths at AS, or languages, if he is planning on taking a language.

Back in the olden days when AS was a standalone qualification, schools just didn't offer it and students usually just took 3 A-levels. However, now everyone expects 3 and an AS so I can imagine it will be expected to maintain this. I can't see schools having the provision to offer separate AS classes to A-level. What might happen, if there is enough overlap in content, is that everyone starts 4 subjects in the same class, learns the AS stuff, then decides whether they want to drop to AS mid-Y12. Exam entries for June aren't needed till March. The difference there would be that they would need to decide which subject to drop before getting their results as they do at the moment.

That's all complete speculation though. Basically it's just wait and see for the moment. The fact that some subjects won't be linear till 2016 is just going to make it more complicated.

titchy Tue 31-Dec-13 11:37:47

Have a year 10 in the same position. Maths AL is a possibility so she would do the AS, but if she doesn't do well she will have already had to drop a subject so is stuck with it. Grrrrr. Noble - other than Maths and Languages are any other subjects starting the new spec in 2016?

noblegiraffe Tue 31-Dec-13 12:32:12

I've just read that Ofqual are still consulting on the changes to A-level and AS. It looks like the proposal is that AS will be a subset of the A-level content that can be co-taught in Y12 in most subjects, so the scenario where students decide by March whether to be entered for AS is likely. However, there is also the possibility that students could sit AS, get a decent result and then decide to continue with A-level, as now, with the difference being that their AS results won't count towards their A-level at all and they would be examined again on the same content in Y13.

The consultation document is here

What I have just realised is that I was assuming that since maths and languages aren't being reformed until 2016 that the current AS structure would stand until then. But, everything I've read says AS will be standalone from 2015, without mentioning any exceptions for the subjects that are yet to be reformed. So no idea there confused

noblegiraffe Tue 31-Dec-13 12:37:22


new linear A levels in English language, English literature, the sciences, history, geography, psychology, art and design, sociology, business studies, economics and computing will be available for first teaching from September 2015
new linear A levels in maths, further maths and languages will be introduced in 2016

No mention has been made about a timeline for any other subjects, which will presumably also need reforming.

This makes me wonder whether the other subjects will still be the old AS structure until reform, (which would be a nightmare for students trying to decide which subjects to take) or whether they'll be forced into linear by simply insisting that all exams are sat in the same sitting.

OddBoots Tue 31-Dec-13 12:45:30

Oh goodness, it all sounds very complex. It feels like something DS should be thinking about in the next few months but really until it is all settled (if it is ever all settled!) there's probably no point. Thank you very much for your help noblegiraffe.

bronya Tue 31-Dec-13 21:10:47

I took mine in the 'old days'. AS was stand alone and there were no retakes of anything. I took an AS and 3 A levels. It worked fine.

Mary1972 Wed 01-Jan-14 08:45:24

noble, that's very helpful. So if mine (2 in year 10) do say history, geography, english lit which is likely and probably were going to do music AS the will start the new format in Sept 2015 as they are all on your list and only have exams in year 13 and probably music AS will continue so they can do that for that first year. They won't want to do 4 A levels.

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