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A level changes from September 2013

(22 Posts)
alreadytaken Sat 10-Nov-12 11:23:15

From next September, students will only be able to sit AS and A level exams in the summer. This change is the first phase of proposed wider A level reforms. Further changes to the system, including more involvement from higher education into the design of A levels, and changes to the A level structure, are also being considered and will be announced at a later date

First I've heard of this!

alreadytaken Sat 10-Nov-12 11:23:58

clickable link

SecretSquirrels Sat 10-Nov-12 12:19:52

I guess it's inevitable given the move away from modular exams at GCSE.
I have two DC. DS1 just started A levels so was not affected by the GCSE changes or these A level changes. I was surprised how many modules were involved in his Maths and FM course.
DS2 in year 10 will be hit by both.
Ironic as DS1 would far better suit terminal exams and DS2 would fair better in modules.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Nov-12 16:16:15

Stupid, stupid idea. The Jan module in Y12 is a good checkpoint for students to see that they're putting the required amount of work in before they balls it all up in June. It spreads the exam load so that they don't have an insane number of modules in one sitting (see those sitting maths and Further maths). And if they want to stop students resitting, why not simply restrict the number of resits they can take?

gelo Sat 10-Nov-12 17:05:34

Secret your ds1 will be affected as he will do all his yr13 exams in June.

I think it was an obvious move really which will give teachers a lot more teaching time and the children can enjoy their Christmasses. Noble, schools can set internal exams to give dc their wake up call. Quite a few schools do all their exams in June anyway & it seems to work OK. It may mean a number of exams, but it's still only half the A level in workload at a time.

One resit doesn't sound too bad either - I assume that's per module, so you'd be unlucky to have an off day twice.

SecretSquirrels Sat 10-Nov-12 17:29:34

Ah gelo interesting.
In Maths and Further Maths I think there are 13 modules over two years. He has some in January 2013 I think, so presumably in Year 13 he will do all 6 or 7 in the June?
Ok as long as the college do sufficient internal testing

gelo Sat 10-Nov-12 18:17:43

12 usually, 6 for each full A-level, secret. So maybe the 13th is a spare? Maths is exam heavy compared to other subjects, especially when they are doing further maths as well, but at least there is no coursework and the exams are quite short. Ds has a friend who did 2 maths A levels in a school that didn't sit Jan modules and it seemed to work OK. Ds did do January exams, and still seemed to have a lot of maths modules each time - he did, 1 Jan, 4 Jun, 4 Jan, 3 (actually 4 as he did an extra) Jun as I recall, but some of his friends doing resits did quite a few more than 4 at a time and they were sometimes timetabled back to back.

alreadytaken Sun 11-Nov-12 09:02:21

I like the January exams for A2. They not only break up the workload they also allow students to base their university applications on a good idea of what they can achieve at A level. They allow a quick retake if students haven't achieved their grades. Until the system is changed to allow applications with achieved grades it's the best we have. Had I known about the consultation I'd have suggested exams in January only for the A2 year. Only one retake is good..

NewFerry Sun 11-Nov-12 09:13:04

My eldest is now in his second year at Uni, and they have exams at the end of each semester, ie Jan and June. I think this is pretty common.

So I don't understand why universities (who were involved in the consultation I think), are so keen to lose the Jan exams for A levels. After all its what they do themselves!

webwiz Sun 11-Nov-12 13:34:05

DD2 is in her second year at university as well NewFerry and she has exams in Jan and June. Also the Jan sitting in year 13 turned out to be helpful in deciding whether to commit to an A* university offer.

DS is in year 11 and planning to choose mostly Arts subjects (with Maths) so he will take most of his exams in the summer sitting anyway. The short lead in to changes makes me a bit twitchy though, I do wonder what else is in the pipeline.

Astelia Sun 11-Nov-12 15:38:14

I hope they combine some of the maths modules if they are all going to be taken at once. Six papers of 90 mins each all at once is crazy. Twelve of 90 mins for A level and FM is totally ridiculous.

They should combine C1 and C2, C3 and C4 (so you can still just sit an AS) and should make the exams 2 hours long.

Theas18 Sun 11-Nov-12 15:45:41

Posted about this a few days ago

Ds has come to terms with this, but says his mates doing further Maths are still in a flat spin as it just doesn't seem possible to examine all the areas in a single set of exams.

gelo Sun 11-Nov-12 16:05:45

Better to simply timetable C1 and C2 (and C3 and C4) at the same time and sit the separate papers back to back I would think Astelia. That happens already with some of the maths modules, but leaves more flexibility for the order of taking them and for retaking one without the other.

They certainly couldn't make the sort of changes you are suggesting without it being clear from the start of the course as schools vary hugely in the order of teaching and sitting the modules and they probably won't change the exam structure before they next change the syllabus. 4.5 hours per AS and the same again for A2 isn't wildly different from other A level subjects and if you reduce it you won't be able to examine all areas of the syllabus.

Startail Tue 13-Nov-12 13:20:50

Fine by me, I always loathed exam revision in the Christmas holidays. Never did enough.

Much prefer sitting in the garden in the sunshine.

Startail Tue 13-Nov-12 14:29:44

Seriously my school sat full formal mocks before Christmas for O and A levels so we knew if we needed to work harder.

I'm worried to hear that GCSE don't because CAs get in the way.

Mocks can be a real wake up call, rather more than 2 of us passed our real English Lit.O level.

The major problem is that the Government have messed about with the GCSEs for next year and are going to again for Y7. Therefore, I can't see how schools can have enough past questions to set a reasonable mock paper.

noblegiraffe Tue 13-Nov-12 14:47:43

Exam boards release specimen papers for use as mocks.

The problem with mocks as opposed to real exams is that some kids simply don't take them seriously as they're not 'proper' exams.

prettydaisies Tue 13-Nov-12 18:01:32

At OH's university (the university my OH works for!), they only have exams in the summer for both 1st and 2nd semester courses. So not all universities have 2 separate exam sittings.

OneMoreMum Thu 15-Nov-12 11:43:36

When I took my A-levels (22 years ago...) I'm sure we took all the exams at the end of the 2 years, there were no AS levels at the end of year 1 and no modules at all as far as I know.
Am I remembering correctly or is my poor old brain letting me down??

noblegiraffe Thu 15-Nov-12 11:48:07

Yes. However that doesn't mean it was a good system. Top universities have said that they would prefer to keep the AS level at the end of Y12, Oxbridge have said that a state school student getting stellar AS results might suddenly be prompted to consider applying to Oxbridge where they wouldn't have had the confidence to without some solid results under their belt.

OneMoreMum Thu 15-Nov-12 12:46:02

Sorry didn't mean to infer it was a good system, just highlighting the difference.
I feel particularly sorry for those genuinely wanting to retake a subject if they had a problem on exam day, having to wait a whole year is rough.

noblegiraffe Thu 15-Nov-12 12:55:42

Ah, I see. People normally follow up 'I sat all my exams at the end of the course' with 'and it never did me any harm, don't know what people are moaning about, rigour blah blah etc' smile

I'm pleased that there has been resistance to scrapping AS levels, but as that was clearly what Gove wanted, I suspect that he will end up scrapping A-levels completely instead.

OneMoreMum Thu 15-Nov-12 13:16:04

I really don't know how anyone is supposed to teach in such a continually changing environment, let alone us parents keep up with what's going on....

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