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"A star" no longer available at A-level?

(27 Posts)
CompleteDelete Mon 26-Dec-16 11:27:34

My nephew is currently in the lower 6th. When I visited over Xmas he assured me that his A-levels don't offer an "A star" rating any more and that a grade A is the highest he can get.

Is this really true?

I have a feeling that he may be attempting to lower my expectations. When I Googled there was lots of conflicting explanations probably because some were out of date.

What's the correct situation?

Manumission Mon 26-Dec-16 11:29:58

AS-levels don't go up to A* but full A levels do.

Perhaps you were at cross purposes? I'm sure his main focus this year is the ASs.

hugoagogo Mon 26-Dec-16 11:34:24

Does it really matter?

titchy Mon 26-Dec-16 11:38:29

Yes of course it matters - give that if he's a high flier he might be applying to places which ask for Astar.

As a pp said there has never been Astar at AS level but there most certainly is at A level, and that won't change.

Depending on his subjects his AS grade probably won't count towards his overall A level grade though.

TheMortificadosDragon Mon 26-Dec-16 11:40:15

I'm pretty sure all A levels have A* grades available, whereas AS don't. My DD is in the upper sixth, her subjects are a mix of old-style and new, and she's got an A* prediction for the latter and her favourite uni offers need it!

Does he really need to manage an aunt's expectations? confused

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 26-Dec-16 11:46:01

Does it really matter

Exactly. Does it matter so much to his aunt that she thinks a nephew is attempting to lower her expectations. Slightly odd.

Manumission Mon 26-Dec-16 11:52:08

Have you offered payment per grade or something like that?

CompleteDelete Mon 26-Dec-16 11:52:31

From what posters have said here, the highest he could get is an "A star" at A-level but only an A at AS-level

He was talking about predicted grades (which have been generated automatically from his GCSE results). Am I correct to presume these predictions are for A-Level rather than AS level?

However, he was also talking about the tests he'll sit when he goes back after the Xmas break. I wonder if these do not have an "A-star" grade for some reason. I can't imagine these tests are not marked in the same way as A-level but maybe I am wrong here?

He does have a habit of managing expectations, so I would like to know the full picture!

CompleteDelete Mon 26-Dec-16 11:55:50

Now my Googling has taken me to a Mumsnet page which says:

"Grades will continue to be awarded on an A*-E scale at both AS- and A-level."

So maybe there is an"A-star" at AS level, after all? Or that page is out of date?

I am getting super-confused! Someone, please help!

hugoagogo Mon 26-Dec-16 12:01:13

I can't understand why you are so interested, but just the same: the way to find out for sure is to visit his school website to find out his examination board, then look at their website to find out which grades are available.

catslife Mon 26-Dec-16 12:01:56

As others have said there isn't an A* grade in the first year of the new A levels (and never has been) and if he is taking AS level exams an A will be the highest grade available.
My understanding is that there will be an A* grade available at the end of Y13 for the full A level. This will however be awarded on a different basis to the old modular A levels. Grade boundaries for A to E grades are expected to be in-line with previous years, but it's unclear where the A* grade boundary for the new linear qualification will be due to the lack of data from previous years.

TheMortificadosDragon Mon 26-Dec-16 12:09:46

I can't remember if the ALPS targets, which are the things generated statistically from gcse grades, include A* or not - TBH they're extremely inaccurate so not worth much worry either way.

Tests after the xmas break yr 12 will either be AS mocks, or if they aren't doing AS for some subjects (there are very few two-part subjects left where you actually have to) then presumably just internal exams based on the A level syllabus covered so far which the school may well choose to grade from A.

The AS is increasingly irrelevant as many schools aren't doing them for the subjects they aren't needed for, and they've never had an A* .

NewNNfor2017 Mon 26-Dec-16 12:18:36

This years lower sixth are the first year of the NEW system - that completely restructures AS and A levels.

The two are being split - the phrase being used is "decoupled" so you can no longer convert an AS level to an A level by studying a further year. You either study a one year AS, or a two year A level.

At the same time, the gradings are being reviewed, and it may well be the case that A levels are returning to an A-E grading structure - my understanding is that decision has not been finalised yet, and doesn't need to be until May 2018.

titchy Mon 26-Dec-16 12:26:49

Just to correct NN - this years lower sixth students are the second year of a three year phased decoupling.

There is no indication whatsoever that A star will be removed as an A level grade in the future. Policy direction of travel from DofE indicates the opposite in fact.

catslife Mon 26-Dec-16 12:37:13

This years lower sixth are the first year of the NEW system - that completely restructures AS and A levels.
The A level changes are being implemented over several years. My dd in Y12 is taking 2 unreformed subjects. All the facilitating subjects (apart from Maths) are linear for current Y12s and many other subjects have also switched over. The current Y13s are the first cohort to be examined under the new system in some subjects (particularly A level Sciences).

CompleteDelete Sun 01-Jan-17 11:50:47

Thanks for the information. It's useful and has helped me understand the gradings better.

Blu Sun 01-Jan-17 11:56:50

"He does have a habit of managing expectations, so I would like to know the full picture!"

With his aunt so invested in the details of his grades, I am not surprised. His 'managing' is probably trying to get everyone to back off and stop pressurising him. Is there a reason why you are so involved? Are his parents absent or not interested?

CompleteDelete Sun 01-Jan-17 17:16:07

The situation is not something I wish to discuss here as it is too sensitive. I haven't told you of the background because I do not wish you to know and that does not mean I am looking value judgements such as this: "With his aunt so invested [sic] in the details of his grades, I am not surprised."

If you find it is not possible to answer the question I asked then please do not feel compelled to post comments such as "Are his parents absent or not interested?" Thank you.

TinklyLittleLaugh Sun 01-Jan-17 17:26:46

When my DD started sixth form college she was predicted grades both for AS (Bs) and A2 (A/Bs). Presumably they anticipated she would improve as she went along. After her AS results, her A2 predictions are now A*AA on her UCAS form.

Anyhow, what I'm trying to say is, given how students react very differently to the step up from GCSE to A level, I think those initial predictions are a very inexact science.

Kr1stina Mon 02-Jan-17 09:07:09

If you find it is not possible to answer the question I asked then please do not feel compelled to post comments such as "Are his parents absent or not interested?" Thank you

You seem confused about Mumsnet. It's not a free question and answer service. It's a disussion board .

People will post all sorts of comments and questions around the topic raised by your opening post. You don't get to decide what other people say.

Snippy comments like those above will ensure that very few people reply to you.

In future if you just want a simple answer I suggest you use google or perhaps even read the website of the relevant exam board.

If you were in loco parentis then I'm sure you would have been informed about the exam changes by the school.

Blu Mon 02-Jan-17 09:33:20

"The situation is not something I wish to discuss here as it is too sensitive."

That's fine, OP, I understand, and that is all you needed to say, of that post.

The thing is, you posted more in your OP than a simple question about grades. You alluded to his response to expectations etc. On the Secondsry Education board, posters often discuss the wider aspects of how teens are handling the pressure, their confidence levels etc.

Good luck to your nephew.

mummytime Mon 02-Jan-17 10:22:25

Op I have found your response to others replies a little rude.
However from the way you worded your first post I would guess that you perhaps have a financial involvement in his education.
Second, when I was teaching I have known young people who were working very hard, but have known that even if they did their best "it would not be good enough" for their parents. Your nephew seems to be in a similar situation that nothing but an A star will be good enough for you. The point of an A star is to be a "stretch" even for the brightest.

borntobequiet Mon 02-Jan-17 10:33:32

There are all sorts of good reasons why an aunt/uncle/grandparent/godparent might have an active interest in a child's educational progress. I have seen instances where that support has been crucial, including within my own family. There is no need to be unkind to the OP.

OhTheRoses Mon 02-Jan-17 10:42:51

Bearing in mind the number of different boards and school approaches, my dd's school for example scrapped AS two years ago electing to adopt a purely linear approach, I think your best bet is to contact the Head of 6th form at your nephew's school. They will be able to give a precise explanation of what applies to each of your nephew's options.

Bluntness100 Mon 02-Jan-17 10:52:31

All I can say is that if the guy has to manage your expectations and your focus is on the highest grades achievable , not about him personally. then it feels like too much pressure is being put on him and that's usually detrimental and can backfire, in addition you're basically accusing him of lying to you.

All slightly unpleasant.

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