BBC School Report LS

Changes to A-Levels

With approximately 50% of 16 year olds choosing to study A-levels after leaving compulsory education, the recent changes to courses are going to impact an enormous number of both students and teachers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The changes are not simple either; a staggered introduction of the new reforms means there is an overlap of two entirely different programmes. So, for the next few years students will not only be studying vigorously for their exams, but struggling to get to grips with the variations in their A-Level courses too. AS-levels are slowly being scrapped and courses are generally taking a more linear approach, meaning that year 11s choosing their A-level options will have to commit to subjects for two years.
The new system is said to be considerably more challenging than before, due to the switch from modules to end-of-course exams. These reforms have been put in place because of the “grade inflation”, which is essentially the increase in the number of pupils achieving top grades. This rise has posed the question; are students working harder or are A-levels just becoming easier? The answer to this appears to be the latter, and changes to the structures of A-levels are the solution, according to the Department of Education.
Regardless, it can’t be disputed that the ambiguity of these changes, with the staggered introduction of new courses, are not going to have an entirely positive impact on students and teachers. Instead, it leaves both parties confused and questioning the necessity and benefits of the A-level changes.

By Mollie Jones 12B