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AS levels - will they exist in a couple of years?

(14 Posts)
CottonEyeJ0 Sun 23-Aug-15 15:49:14

Just reading some other threads and it sounds like AS levels are on their way out?

DS is about to start Year 10, and one of his GCSE options (as it were!) is an AS level. Is this a mistake by the school - will there be an AS level for him to take in June 2017? I'm confused. Anyone work in a school and can offer any info? Ta.

DoctorDonnaNoble Sun 23-Aug-15 15:54:03

They will exist but not in the same form. They are meant to be returning to stand alone qualifications. Not all subjects are changing at the same time, however. The process is going to take several years.

LockedOutOfMN Sun 23-Aug-15 15:54:09

Some subjects are starting the "new" A Level this September, i.e. for examination in June 2016 if taking AS and examination in June 2017 if A Level. So this affects students who are about to start Year 12.

My subject, English, is one of those that is the first to start the "new" A Level this September. My school has decided that everyone has to take the AS at the end of Year 12 and then the A Level at the end of Year 13, to fit in with the other subjects that are still in the previous format of AS and A2. However, this only at our school. At other schools which aren't run by idiots , students starting Year 12 next month could not be taking exams. until the end of Year 13, the full A Level (in subjects that have switched to new A Level, such as English).

Personally, I would like to see the back of AS levels examined at the end of Year 12. Whether this is the government's intention and whether it will happen remains to be seen.

CottonEyeJ0 Sun 23-Aug-15 15:59:18

Ta. Still confused! I assume DS's is a stand alone AS as his school doesn't have a sixth form. My concern is - will there be a paper for him to take as a Year 11 student in June 2017? His subject is Philosophy and Ethics if that helps?

LockedOut - why don't you like AS levels then? Do you think they are ok if taken as an alternative to GCSEs?

DoctorDonnaNoble Sun 23-Aug-15 16:00:49

I assume so as the school wouldn't bother otherwise.

titchy Sun 23-Aug-15 17:01:41

Yes of course they'll be an AS exam! Even once all A levels are decoupled there will still be a demand for stand alone AS exams. If he he sits the exam in 2017 he'll be doing the same exam as all those who start 6th form next September and elect to take this subject at AS (or A level - AS and first year A will still be able to be taught together).

antimatter Sun 23-Aug-15 17:05:14

My nephew is starting his A levels this September and his school is not making them sit AS for any subjects.
I think stating they will exist is correct but each school will choose the way which they see most suitable.

DoctorDonnaNoble Sun 23-Aug-15 17:08:05

Antimatter - not all subjects are changing this year.

LockedOutOfMN Sun 23-Aug-15 18:13:34

CottonEyeJ0 What I don't like is the exams. at the end of Year 12. In my subject, (and, according to my colleagues, others), students haven't quite made the jump to A Level analysis and understanding by the end of Year 12. To take AS then (as in the old/current style of AS) and get poor or average results can be quite demoralising. Also, with exams. at the end of Year 12, this means that students have 3 consecutive summers under pressure from exams. Thirdly, AS means that the overall sixth form course loses most of the summer term to study leave and exams. whereas with a 2 year A Level course students can use the whole of the Year 12 summer term for study. But it's just a personal preference.

The best thing to do about the Philosophy and Ethics AS Level is to ask the examination board.

antimatter Sun 23-Aug-15 21:55:15

I think he is doing Chemistry, Biology and Maths.

cricketballs Sun 23-Aug-15 22:22:57

Cambridge has spoken out against schools/colleges not entering candidates for AS link here.

My view point as a teacher is that AS gives students a reality check as to the requirements of this level of qualifications rather than allowing them to go through 2 years of study not realising the commitment needed.

but, in answer to the op; the AS is in its own right a worthy qualification, but as it doesn't add to the school's league table points I would question why they are doing it

Charis1 Sun 23-Aug-15 23:10:29

The main problem with AS levels is that it takes a month out of teaching, as there is two weeks revision, followed by a two week exam period. Now the A level students are not doing AS levels, they will be taught right up to the end of July in year 12, and will cover more content more thoroughly.

OP, there is always a cross over period, when students who have started an old qualification can continue and finish it, even if no one else can start it, so don't worry.

LockedOutOfMN Mon 24-Aug-15 08:31:52

I agree, Charis1. This year, our Year 12 study leave began on 8th May!

mummytime Tue 25-Aug-15 15:11:58

Every school and college local to me is still sitting ASs in all subjects next year. They may change after that.

And I don't think they are all run by "idiots".

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