Following Ofqual’s consultation on A Level reform over the summer, the exams regulator today published its key findings.
The regulator confirmed a specific change to A Levels, the removal of January assessments, that will come into effect next academic year. From September 2013, students will only be able to sit AS and A Level exams in the summer. This will not only affect all students who start AS or A Level courses from September 2013, but also those who started their AS courses in September 2012, for whom there will be no opportunities for AS re-sits or A2 units in January 2014.
Ofqual’s findings on broader reforms to A Level structure – including the role of the AS, the involvement of higher education, content of A Levels and the timetable for the next generation of A Levels, are still to be announced.
OCR Chief Executive Mark Dawe said: “We supported the removal of the January assessment window in our consultation response and are well placed to respond to wider A Level reform, given our extensive engagement across the education community - teachers, students, learned societies, and employers, as well as university academics.
"However Ofqual needs to confirm the basic ground rules to meet the current deadline for roll out of reformed A Levels in September 2014. The issue of retaining the AS for example needs to be resolved. The majority of universities have spoken clearly in favour of retaining the qualification. As part of a university, OCR is also very sympathetic to the concerns raised by the university sector that the model for involvement in A Levels is flexible and practical.“
OCR's ongoing engagement programme, both face to face and online, has enabled us to be well prepared for reform. In the next fortnight, we will be sharing prototypes of a new English Literature A Level on our website, developed in response to what stakeholders told us. We will be inviting as many people as possible to give us feedback.
The members of our subject and HE forums, along with the research conducted by Cambridge Assessment, have provided us with a wealth of information to contribute to the debate and for practical action on A Levels. The themes that emerged from across the forums include the need for more opportunities to develop independent thinking, research and academic skills, a desire to focus on core areas in greater depth and for assessment that demonstrates the application, not just recall, of knowledge.
While the timeline for A Level reform is still to be finalised, OCR has extended the operational end dates of all its Applied A Levels until the end of August 2015.
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