Should foundation years replace GCSEs and A Levels? Watch

Arran90
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Foundation years add a new dimension to education. For the cost of £9000 they enable students to effectively bypass GCSEs and A Levels when entering degree courses.

Therefore would it be a good idea to phase out GCSEs and A Levels and replace them with foundation years at university? Vocational qualifications and apprenticeships will exist for students who do not wish to study for a degree.
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Liverpool Hope University
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(Original post by Arran90)
Foundation years add a new dimension to education. For the cost of £9000 they enable students to effectively bypass GCSEs and A Levels when entering degree courses.

Therefore would it be a good idea to phase out GCSEs and A Levels and replace them with foundation years at university? Vocational qualifications and apprenticeships will exist for students who do not wish to study for a degree.
Foundation years certainly do add a new dimension to education, they allow students to focus on core skills such as academic writing at a Higher Education level as well as developing the inner critical thinker.

At Liverpool Hope University, applicants for the foundation course must achieve 72 UCAS points to gain entry onto the course. These points can be made up of a range of level 3 or above qualifications including GCSE's and A-levels. There is no opportunity to effectively bypass any prior qualifications.

Hope this provides further information on foundation courses!

Robyn

:rave:
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Arran90
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(Original post by Liverpool Hope University)
At Liverpool Hope University, applicants for the foundation course must achieve 72 UCAS points to gain entry onto the course. These points can be made up of a range of level 3 or above qualifications including GCSE's and A-levels. There is no opportunity to effectively bypass any prior qualifications.
It certainly helps having good GCSE grades in English language, mathematics, and possibly another relevant subject, to access a foundation year, but requesting Level 3 qualification effectively defeats the point of foundation years as Level 3 qualifications are designed to access degree courses directly.
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watershower
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i don’t think that would be beneficial. there’s an order for a reason. i think the stuff we learn lower down are valuable, and imagine at 16 being chucked information for 1 year and then going on to do a university degree??? that would be too difficult for most people i imagine.
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Arran90
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(Original post by watershower)
i don’t think that would be beneficial. there’s an order for a reason. i think the stuff we learn lower down are valuable, and imagine at 16 being chucked information for 1 year and then going on to do a university degree??? that would be too difficult for most people i imagine.
It's only early days but I have known people who have achieved 1st and 2.1 in their degree starting with a foundation year who had no Level 3 qualifications and only a handful of GCSEs or other Level 2 qualifications.

I think it also depends on the degree course. For some degree subjects (like mathematics or chemistry) A Level knowledge is essential but for other subjects it's far less so. Some time ago I asked the question exactly which A Level subjects best prepare students (in terms of knowledge, not pleasing admissions officers) for a law degree. I didn't receive a clear answer but I'm tempted to say that A Levels are 90% credentialism and endurance and only 10% knowledge for this degree.
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by Arran90)
Foundation years add a new dimension to education. For the cost of £9000 they enable students to effectively bypass GCSEs and A Levels when entering degree courses.

Therefore would it be a good idea to phase out GCSEs and A Levels and replace them with foundation years at university? Vocational qualifications and apprenticeships will exist for students who do not wish to study for a degree.
Terrible idea.

GCSEs are low level basic introductions to an area and the fact that you do 10 or 12 of them means that you get a very broad education and can use that to help decide what you want to specialise in next. Foundation degrees do something entirely different, which is to fill in core skills that people should have got at school, but for some reason missed out on.

Imagine what happens if a future English Lit grad misses out on taking a basket of GCSEs and jumps to a foundation degree. They don't get any Maths, Science, History etc along the way, and that lack of breadth does not deliver a good education.

At the same time, your foundation degree idea has 14 and 15 year olds rocking up at university, where they are expected to live and work independently. How well is that going to work !
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Liverpool Hope University
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(Original post by Arran90)
It certainly helps having good GCSE grades in English language, mathematics, and possibly another relevant subject, to access a foundation year, but requesting Level 3 qualification effectively defeats the point of foundation years as Level 3 qualifications are designed to access degree courses directly.
Hey, :shakehand:

Thank you for your thoughts.

This would depend on the foundation year as each foundation year is not the same. For example some foundation years do stand alone and give access to further Higher Education courses whereas some foundation years, like ours, are tied in to a undergraduate degree. This essentially makes it a 4 year undergraduate degree (with the first year being a foundation year) this is why the level 3 requirements are set.

I hope this clears it up a little,
Tom :hello:
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mnot
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(Original post by Arran90)
Foundation years add a new dimension to education. For the cost of £9000 they enable students to effectively bypass GCSEs and A Levels when entering degree courses.

Therefore would it be a good idea to phase out GCSEs and A Levels and replace them with foundation years at university? Vocational qualifications and apprenticeships will exist for students who do not wish to study for a degree.
Students looking to go the vocational route tend to already not take up A-levels and go to college where they then get an apprenticeship.

I dont think foundation years should replace A-levels, at least for the more academic subjects. Foundation years are just a way for Unis to grind out an extra 9k from students tbh.

If people want to do them then by all means go for it, but I still think A-levels have a useful purpose (particularly further maths A-level, why would you want to end something so useful .. that is the best prep for uni , and id encourage any future engineer, physicist, mathematician etc. to do further maths over any access course/year-0 option)
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1st superstar
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(Original post by Arran90)
Foundation years add a new dimension to education. For the cost of £9000 they enable students to effectively bypass GCSEs and A Levels when entering degree courses.

Therefore would it be a good idea to phase out GCSEs and A Levels and replace them with foundation years at university? Vocational qualifications and apprenticeships will exist for students who do not wish to study for a degree.
how about we do this instead
1. make students sit their GCSEs when they are 18 years old (i did all of mine at 15 years old and i think that that's far too young considering "our brain isn't developed" (obviously let students sit their's earlier if they choose to do so))

2. make the legal you have to start school 7 (like it is in many other countries)

3. have more level 2 BTECs (so have level 2 applied science, food, pe, drama, child development, IT etc)

4. all schools within the same county should have the same subject opportunities (e.g all schools in Buckinghamshire should offer the exact same courses. (So there shouldn't be one secondary school offering GCSE economics and then one which is just around the corner not offering it, all schools within the same county should also have the same grade entry requirements, and do the same exam board for their subjects. For example all state schools in Buckinghamshire should do Edexcel GCSE P.E or whatever not state school A in Buckinghamshire is doing AQA P.E and state school B in Buckinghamshire is doing Edexcel))). Doing makes it easier for the parents and gives you real data as to who the "better school" is within a county a they all sat the exam same paper with the exact same questions (because you know the drama that happens every year that exam board X makes a mistake on paper Y and then due to this people who did exam board X get a lower grade on average for something that's completely out of their control)

5. all i have to say for now
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_gcx
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
how about we do this instead
1. make students sit their GCSEs when they are 18 years old (i did all of mine at 15 years old and i think that that's far too young considering "our brain isn't developed" (obviously let students sit their's earlier if they choose to do so))

2. make the legal you have to start school 7 (like it is in many other countries)

3. have more level 2 BTECs (so have level 2 applied science, food, pe, drama, child development, IT etc)

4. all schools within the same county should have the same subject opportunities (e.g all schools in Buckinghamshire should offer the exact same courses. (So there shouldn't be one secondary school offering GCSE economics and then one which is just around the corner not offering it, all schools within the same county should also have the same grade entry requirements, and do the same exam board for their subjects. For example all state schools in Buckinghamshire should do Edexcel GCSE P.E or whatever not state school A in Buckinghamshire is doing AQA P.E and state school B in Buckinghamshire is doing Edexcel))). Doing makes it easier for the parents and gives you real data as to who the "better school" is within a county a they all sat the exam same paper with the exact same questions (because you know the drama that happens every year that exam board X makes a mistake on paper Y and then due to this people who did exam board X get a lower grade on average for something that's completely out of their control)

5. all i have to say for now
Sit GCSEs at 18? When would people do A-levels?
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Glaz
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
i think that that's far too young considering "our brain isn't developed" (obviously let students sit their's earlier if they choose to do so)
I did one at 13 and the rest at 14 and (look at my profile) I think I did pretty well. I don't think I would've done drastically better if I did them at 16 or 18

Also if you do GCSEs at 18 when do you do A-Levels/Level 3 BTECs and when do you go uni??
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(Original post by Glaz)
I did one at 13 and the rest at 14 and (look at my profile) I think I did pretty well. I don't think I would've done drastically better if I did them at 16 or 18

Also if you do GCSEs at 18 when do you do A-Levels/Level 3 BTECs and when do you go uni??
make students do an exam in year 9 (where they are only tested on the core subjects) and have students be in sixth form from 15-18 years old kind of like in France...you would still go to uni at 18-19 years old except you may learn slightly more content but do you exams later...
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_gcx
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
make students do an exam in year 9 (where they are only tested on the core subjects) and have students be in sixth form from 15-18 years old kind of like in France...you would still go to uni at 18-19 years old except you may learn slightly more content but do you exams later...
but isn't that moving GCSEs forward to year 9 instead of pushing them back? Unsure what you're going for.
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Glaz
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
make students do an exam in year 9 (where they are only tested on the core subjects) and have students be in sixth form from 15-18 years old kind of like in France...you would still go to uni at 18-19 years old except you may learn slightly more content but do you exams later...
Nah I doubt this will work, I think the way we have it works, but have the opportunity to do a foundation year instead of A-Levels/Level 3 BTECs
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Mixedraceguy
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But aren't foundation years a step up from A level I thought they were meant to be a transition from A levels to the full degree for those students who didn't get top grades or meet the entry requirement for the degree and gives them the foundation knowledge and skills to ensure success on the degree
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(Original post by _gcx)
but isn't that moving GCSEs forward to year 9 instead of pushing them back? Unsure what you're going for.
what i am aiming for is for 15-16 year old students to not have to sit down through 20-40 exams in 4 weeks most countries do this when students are 18 years old
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mnot
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
how about we do this instead
1. make students sit their GCSEs when they are 18 years old (i did all of mine at 15 years old and i think that that's far too young considering "our brain isn't developed" (obviously let students sit their's earlier if they choose to do so))
Absolutely not, GCSEs were a big enough waste of time as it is. If anything moving them to year 10 makes more sense.
I do agree that at that age lots of people are very immature dont have the desire to sit & work (and even at 18 i still think this is the case). But GCSEs are easy enough that it would be a waste of time for many people to push them back. I think if anything subjects such as maths, science, IT etc. the current specifications are too easy and need to be made more rigorous for 16 yo's.
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(Original post by _gcx)
but isn't that moving GCSEs forward to year 9 instead of pushing them back? Unsure what you're going for.
A-levels should maybe not exist but instead the standards of GCSEs should be raised and then students could do their exams later then go straight to uni. tbh the whole UK education system needs changing
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(Original post by mnot)
Absolutely not, GCSEs were a big enough waste of time as it is. If anything moving them to year 10 makes more sense.
I do agree that at that age lots of people are very immature dont have the desire to sit & work (and even at 18 i still think this is the case). But GCSEs are easy enough that it would be a waste of time for many people to push them back. I think if anything subjects such as maths, science, IT etc. the current specifications are too easy and need to be made more rigorous for 16 yo's.
true
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(Original post by mnot)
Absolutely not, GCSEs were a big enough waste of time as it is. If anything moving them to year 10 makes more sense.
I do agree that at that age lots of people are very immature dont have the desire to sit & work (and even at 18 i still think this is the case). But GCSEs are easy enough that it would be a waste of time for many people to push them back. I think if anything subjects such as maths, science, IT etc. the current specifications are too easy and need to be made more rigorous for 16 yo's.
i agree but i don't think GCSEs are the problem. the problem is the sheer amount of exams the students have to do and i would cut down on the amount of papers students do:
for Maths there should only be 2 papers (1 calculator and 1 non-calculator paper)
science there should only be 3 papers (so one paper per science no need for 2 per science)
English 2 papers (1 lit, 1 lang)
MFL 2 papers (the reading and writing paper should be one paper and the listening and speaking could be another)
RS 2 papers (one for themes 1 for religion)
but yeah
Geography could also potentially only have 1 paper (but not history)
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