OCR is well placed to respond to Education Secretary Michael Gove's announcement about the role of higher education in creating new A Levels.
What higher education wants in the next generation of A Levels has been identified in an 18-month-long research project, commissioned by OCR, as part of its wide-ranging HE engagement programme. The initial findings will be presented today at the UCAS Admissions Conference 2012 in Birmingham.
According to extensive research conducted by the research division within OCR parent group, Cambridge Assessment, university academics want A Levels to include more advanced content for more able students, to cover core subject areas in greater depth, and to encourage critical thinking, independent study, greater exploration and more extensive reading.
The research also discovered that universities want less 'teaching to the test' and for A Levels to have more essay/open-ended style questions and for the number of resits to be restricted.
As part of its HE engagement programme, OCR is already working with nearly 150 university academics across ten subject areas, to investigate how the transition from sixth form to university can be as smooth as possible.
Mark Dawe, OCR Chief Executive, said "Our parent organisation’s research, together with our own subject-based forums, has provided us with a firm evidence base to design the next generation of A Levels to the standards expected by HE. Over the past two decades, the design and content of qualifications has increasingly become the domain of government-funded bodies. One effect of this has been to disenfranchise university lecturers, tutors, and admissions staff.
"A timetable of first teaching of core subjects in 2014 looks challenging but for those of us already committed to a better education system, it is do-able."
The full report on the research programme will be published at the end of April.
OCR is part of the University of Cambridge's international exams group. We are the only major exam board to be part of a university.