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A level reform brings uncertainty

It’s that time of year again: are you quaking in your boots or brimming over with confidence? The A levels results are out today and hopefully many of you will be celebrating, rather than commiserating, your grades.

Come September, things are definitely a little more unsure for students starting their 6th form studies: A levels are returning to their original linear format so from now on, students will take all their exams at the end of the two-year course.

The controversial scrapping of the AS levels continues to be a worry to many as Dr William Richardson, general secretary of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference recently commented: “If you enter students for three linear A levels, the assessment regime is less predictable for them in their weakest subject because they have had no milestones along the way to help them calibrate their achievement.”

 What is even more concerning is that these changes have not as yet been piloted and are consequently being described by the heads of many elite schools in the country as “high risk” and “a huge gamble”. This potentially means leaving many students with lower grades than they need to get into the best universities in the country, a problem which started last summer when a heavy clamp down on grades began. However, this year several top universities are preparing to take part in the clearing process for unfilled places in case they struggle to fill places allotted to high-grade students. Good news for A level students getting their results today but we wait to see what will happen this time next year.

Photo: from itsliverpool.com – Pupils from Archbishop Blanch High School celebrate getting their A-Level results.

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