Reform to AS levels and A levels, 2015-2017
Most subjects are now following the new reformed linear A levels, which are being phrased in between 2015 and 2018.
English Language and Literature, the Sciences, History, Art, Photography Economics and Computing started teaching the new courses in September 2015
Geography, Languages and Music were revised in September 2016.
The revised Mathematics and Further Maths courses start September 2017, so students in Year 13 in 2017-18 are still on the old modular system.
Changes to the A level
- The A levels are examined only at the ends of the first and second year of study.
- There are no January examinations and very limited opportunity to re-sit papers.
- The AS levels no longer count towards the A level grades.
- The examinations are more synoptic in style. The intention is that the courses will be better preparation for university and that the universities have been consulted in their design.
- The content of courses has changed, but to a varying extent across the subjects.
Implications for AS level
At present the following are the key points.
- AS Levels from 2015 are of the same standard and length as they were before the reforms
- Ofqual requires the boards to ensure that AS and first-year A Levels can be “co-taught”.
- Candidates entering for AS at the end of the Lower Sixth and who wish to continue with the subject to full A Level will be assessed on the same content again a year later but at a deeper, synoptic level.
- Universities are likely to take less cognisance of AS attainment now that it is no longer a universal qualification.
- There is more teaching time in the summer term of the Lower Sixth, with only some subjects entering students for the AS as formative assessment.