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WHY isn't anyone talking about the upcoming changes to A levels?! watch

  • View Poll Results: Are you in favour of the new changes to a levels?
    Yes. They filter out the people who shouldn't be going to university.
    3
    8.33%
    No. Another horrible government agenda.
    22
    61.11%
    Don't know, don't care. Not a big deal.
    2
    5.56%
    Still don't know enough about the situation to make an informed decision.
    9
    25.00%

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    There will be seriously big changes to a levels starting in September.

    "At the moment, a typical student would take four AS-levels in her first year of sixth form, and then follow three of those subjects through to A-level, also known as A2. Her AS mark at the end of the first year makes up 50 per cent of her final A-level grade.
    Under the new system, students are free to take AS-levels, but they will no longer count towards A-level grades. Instead they will be a stand-alone qualification.
    However, although many schools will continue to offer AS-levels next year, this is likely to be a short-term measure, says Mark Bramwell, of the Association of Colleges."
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...confusion.html

    This pretty much means that your A2 grades will count for 100% of your a level grade.

    I've noticed that the government have been extremely quiet about this. The GCSE changes are less extreme but seem to get more airplay.

    This will significantly change how universities will see you; as educational establishments have no requirement to do AS levels. Your university application would be based on your predicted A2 grade and GCSE results.

    Is this just another way for the government to stop people from applying for university while making it harder for the people who will go anyway? A way to get people onto vocational courses, apprenticeships and into work? Opinions?
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    It is how it use to be done. You sat one set of exams at the end of two years. Most students didn't have a problem with it, although it was far more of an endurance challenge than the current modular system.

    I'm not sure it is another way for the government to stop people applying for university. In fact, the government are doing the opposite. Relaxing the rules on student numbers will mean any thick numpty to be almost certain of a place at university.
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    I think GCSE is worse, doing all the exams in year 11.

    I dont think its that bad, AS is only to get you up to scratch from GCSE anyway, especially in biology. So no, i dont think its that bad

    but grades DO NOT define if somebody should go to uni. You dont need to be the smartest to go to uni, only a fraction of uni students go i think to get the best degree possible (we all want good but you have to be realistic)
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    Certain universities (definitely Cambridge) had said that they still want pupils to sit the AS levels so that they can have a clear indication of their latest academic ability. This simply means that you'll have to sit exams twice - once for the AS and once again for the A2 since your AS grades won't count. Thus the change may really not be as dramatic as it first seems.

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    (Original post by Ambrosia_angel)
    There will be seriously big changes to a levels starting in September.

    "At the moment, a typical student would take four AS-levels in her first year of sixth form, and then follow three of those subjects through to A-level, also known as A2. Her AS mark at the end of the first year makes up 50 per cent of her final A-level grade.
    Under the new system, students are free to take AS-levels, but they will no longer count towards A-level grades. Instead they will be a stand-alone qualification.
    However, although many schools will continue to offer AS-levels next year, this is likely to be a short-term measure, says Mark Bramwell, of the Association of Colleges."
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...confusion.html

    This pretty much means that your A2 grades will count for 100% of your a level grade.

    I've noticed that the government have been extremely quiet about this. The GCSE changes are less extreme but seem to get more airplay.

    This will significantly change how universities will see you; as educational establishments have no requirement to do AS levels. Your university application would be based on your predicted A2 grade and GCSE results.

    Is this just another way for the government to stop people from applying for university while making it harder for the people who will go anyway? A way to get people onto vocational courses, apprenticeships and into work? Opinions?
    This is essentially going back to how it used to be. It will suit some students more than others but that will be the case with any system.

    If people are over all getting lower grades then ultimately Unis will drop their entry requirements as they have adapted their criteria with every exam system change so far. It would probably make some difference to people applying to Scottish Unis with English/Welsh exams especially if they wanted to go in at the lower level.

    I think applying with known grades after A2 makes sense but the system doesn't support this and I can't see it doing any time foreseeably
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    I think this is good as it will stop Cambridge's massive over-reliance on AS level UMS - which means they will have to focus on using in-house tests.
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    (Original post by Blutooth)
    I think this is good as it will stop Cambridge's massive over-reliance on AS level UMS - which means they will have to focus on using in-house tests.
    How is that good? UMS is the best thing they have to indicate potential future tripos success as it most closely reflects the scenario at university - study for a whole year and then sit the exams. And most colleges do actually use tests for most subjects but these are done at the interview stage once you're in Cambridge so are not advertised as much as Oxford's tests. Plus according to the research they have carried out the only better predictor of tripos success than UMS was STEP and only for mathematics.

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    (Original post by Ambrosia_angel)
    x?
    They are - there's some interesting politics going on Check out this article from the BBC.

    "Half of 500 schools that responded to a Ucas survey plan to offer AS levels. A fifth said they did not yet know.

    The government says changes mean pupils will study subjects more deeply.

    But Cambridge University, leading public schools, and head teachers' union the Association of Schools and College Leaders have all called for the AS level to remain."
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    (Original post by aersh8)
    How is that good? UMS is the best thing they have to indicate potential future tripos success as it most closely reflects the scenario at university - study for a whole year and then sit the exams. And most colleges do actually use tests for most subjects but these are done at the interview stage once you're in Cambridge so are not advertised as much as Oxford's tests. Plus according to the research they have carried out the only better predictor of tripos success than UMS was STEP and only for mathematics.

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    There used to be STEP papers in all exams. STEP for maths is basically a test that mirrors what it is like to sit an exam in 1st year. If they brought back the STEP papers for other subjects, they'd have just as good a predictor of success- but they won't do that because it is expensive and may put off applicants (and slightly favours private schoolers). Oxford's tests show a better correlation with degree success than AS-level grades.
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    (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
    The government says changes mean pupils will study subjects more deeply.
    I know it's their quote not yours, Puddles, but this could be an interesting bonus. It would give students a year without having to do external exams and more time to do other things.

    I know students of recent years have known nothing else but being tested endlessly throughout their school careers but I do feel this has been detrimental to time for other activities and people just learning to do exams rather than the actual subject.
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    (Original post by Blutooth)
    There used to be STEP papers in all exams. STEP for maths is basically a test that mirrors what it is like to sit an exam in 1st year. If they brought back the STEP papers for other subjects, they'd have just as good a predictor of success- but they won't do that because it is expensive and may put off applicants (and slightly favours private schoolers). Oxford's tests show a better correlation with degree success than AS-level grades.
    Oxford's research is based on letter grades and not UMS. STEP is only really convenient for maths anyway as you can make a much harder exam without significantly deviating from A level content.

    In general, all universities need to use something as a predictor of the student's ability to succeed at university. Predicted grades don't make the cut as on average they are at least 2 grades off what the student achieves. GCSEs are not much good either since many people change significantly between them and their A levels, be it because they find motivation, are only studying the subjects they want to study (which is probably what they'll do in university) or have simply matured. Thus AS grades are needed as they are the closest indicator of an individual's ability at the point of application.

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    (Original post by aersh8)
    Oxford's research is based on letter grades and not UMS. STEP is only really convenient for maths anyway as you can make a much harder exam without significantly deviating from A level content.

    In general, all universities need to use something as a predictor of the student's ability to succeed at university. Predicted grades don't make the cut as on average they are at least 2 grades off what the student achieves. GCSEs are not much good either since many people change significantly between them and their A levels, be it because they find motivation, are only studying the subjects they want to study (which is probably what they'll do in university) or have simply matured. Thus AS grades are needed as they are the closest indicator of an individual's ability at the point of application.

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    Not if you have STEP-style tests. At Oxford the physicists and engineers sit the PAT. AT Oxford the mathematicians, statisticians and compscis sit the MAT. Much better indicators of ability than easy AS UMS. English language people with the ELAT. etc. Same reason why STEP is so successful at Cambridge. Not really much in it between the people who get 90% UMS and those who get 95%-which is why harder admissions tests are needed.
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    I don't see the problem, really. It's just like the Scottish system.
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    (Original post by Blutooth)
    Not if you have STEP-style tests. At Oxford the physicists and engineers sit the PAT. AT Oxford the mathematicians, statisticians and compscis sit the MAT. Much better indicators of ability than easy AS UMS. English language people with the ELAT. etc. Same reason why STEP is so successful at Cambridge. Not really much in it between the people who get 90% UMS and those who get 95%-which is why harder admissions tests are needed.
    Cambridge does have similar tests at a college level too, as I said before. I agree that Oxbridge admissions are much more complex due to the much higher academic ability of applicants and so they have to rely on information other than basic AS grades to make decisions. However there also are all the other 150 or so universities where there are enormous differences in AS grades between applicants and so they are certainly a good enough differentiator.

    Basically you are just attacking Cambridge's use of UMS but forgetting about all other universities. Cambridge has found that UMS suits their needs so let them use it. A pupil looking to Oxbridge but with low UMS can still apply to Oxford, so what is the problem? If anything, it just makes the decision "Oxford or Cambridge?" much easier for some.

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    (Original post by Blazar)
    I don't see the problem, really. It's just like the Scottish system.
    Some observations:

    1) Not all the A-level subjects are changing at the same time - this has potential for a lot of confusion and presents a major challenge for schools organising teaching.

    2) The change is not good for part-time/mature learners since the AS and A2 division made it easier to study an A-level while in full-time work. That said, the numbers entering for exams were quite low.

    3) The policy change may alleviate grade stress - I've lost count of the number of queries appearing on TSA from students worried about applying to a competitive university because of a B or C grade in an AS exam when they are entered for more than 3 AS levels (ie AAAAAB or AAAAAC).

    4) It remains to be seen whether there is a viable market for AS exams and an appetite among schools to bear the cost and among students to take modules for no credit that will have to be re-taken at A2. Cambridge are trying to ride out the change but may have to back down. One argument for relying on AS grades was because it encouraged applications from state schools that were under-represented - this may no longer hold.
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    In my opinions I think this is an issue. So far it looks like more emphasis will be put on GCSEs and A2 levels. Lets not forget that they are also making GCSEs harder too. I'm honestly worried about the new year 10s. I think the government would have been smarter to make these changes seperately so firstly tackle the GCSEs and see how it goes for a few years. We have no idea how students will handle these new harder GCSEs.

    Teachers also have to understand these changes too so if they are teaching both A levels and GCSEs (which most do) it is quite a lot to get through.

    I think the government have rushed into this way too quickly. They are taking out more and more a level/gcse sittings so resits are becoming so hard. The government has also stripped back on funding for evening part time a levels which is difficult for someone wanting to get onto academic university courses. You need money or you go vocational and have restricted choice.
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    Well, we can clearly tell what you think from the poll options:
    1) It's ****
    2) it's ****
    3) I din't care
    4) I haven't a freaking clue about it

    Why not just say "yes" instead of adding a negative spin to it?
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    Why not just use the same system as up here?

    We do (did) standard grades in s3-4, leave or 5 ints/highers in s5, either highers, adv highers or leave in 6th.

    I don't know why the english system complicates things with AS, modules etc.
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    (Original post by pjm600)
    Why not just use the same system as up here?

    We do (did) standard grades in s3-4, leave or 5 ints/highers in s5, either highers, adv highers or leave in 6th.

    I don't know why the english system complicates things with AS, modules etc.
    That sounds more complicated tbh, it just depends on what you're used to

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    I think this is a problem. The AS exams give students practice under the stress and pressure of exam season so when they do A2s it won't be such a shock. If I hadn't done ASs I would be learning revision techniques for A-Levels all too late (I find my way of learning for A Levels quite distinct from GCSEs)

    I think it's good we do half of our A-Level in the first year and half the second - it keeps you working both years and reflects university style of learning - exams at the end of each year. Anyway, A2s are still more important since the A* grade can only be achieved by 90% in A2 not 90% overall for example.

    This is the first time I've heard this so I'm really quite shocked! :O How can you not have exams at the end of Year 12 I don't know.
 
 
 
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