Curriculum Reform for 2015 entry

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1 Curriculum Reform for 2015 entry

2 Level 3 Qualifications In future, Level 3 qualifications will be recognised under 3 categories: Academic Qualifications, such as A/AS levels. Technical Level Qualifications, which are vocational qualifications for students wishing to specialise their studies around a specific occupation (for example, Laboratory Technician) or occupational area (for example, Science, Engineering and Production Technicians). Applied General Qualifications, which are vocational qualifications for students who wish to continue their general education through applied learning and then progress to further learning, probably at university.

3 AS/A Level Reform

4 The current situation At the moment, the AS is part of a system of staged assessment and AS results contribute to the final A-level grade. Under the new system of A levels, which will affect undergraduate admissions from the autumn of 2017, all A-level assessment will take place at the end of the course and the AS will become a stand-alone qualification that is optional for schools. Wales and Northern Ireland will stick with the current arrangements; only England will decouple the AS and A level.

5 What is happening? The new reformed A levels will have the following changes: A levels will be assessed at the end of the 2 year course mostly through examinations Science A levels will be 100% exams plus a pass/fail practical skills test Examinations will be at the end of the two year course and are likely to be more challenging. In most subjects no more than 20% of the assessment will be through coursework

6 What about Modular A level courses which are not due to change in September 2015? These will either be phased out or reformed in subsequent years into linear A levels. In the meantime, they can continue to be offered as AS and A2 courses. In the first year you will complete the AS-level, worth 50% of the A level and a qualification in its own right. In the second year you will complete the full A level by taking the A2, also worth 50% of the A level. Courses will continue to include coursework alongside exams.

7 The AS AS levels will be standalone qualifications and will no longer contribute to A- levels. New AS levels will be designed to offer breadth to the curriculum and will broadly remain at their current standard but will be worth 40% of an A-level rather than 50% as now. In some subjects, it may be appropriate for the AS to be designed to be cotaught with the first year of the A-level. There will be no coursework assessment. To complete a full A-level in a subject taken at AS a student will need to repeat the examination taken in Year 1 at the end of Year 2 (different questions of course!)

8 Subjects listed for reform-phase one 2015 English Literature English Lang. and Lit. English Language Physics Chemistry Biology History Red = facilitating subject Psychology Art and design Sociology Business studies Economics Computing

9 Subjects listed for reform-phase two 2016 Maths (now 2017) Further maths (now 2017) Modern foreign languages Classical languages Geography Religious Studies? Drama Music Design and Technology (now 2017) PE

10 Changes to BTECs The way all BTEC courses are assessed has changed from September In summary, these changes have been made: 1. To define how teachers and tutors should give feedback 2. To define how learners should work independently to create their own authentic evidence 3. To tighten up on submission, resubmission and retakes The new rules apply to all new learners as of September 2014, whether studying Level 2 or Level 3.

11 How do these rules affect our students? Assignments will only be given once students have covered all of the theory and are ready to complete the assignment and be assessed. No specific feedback can be given to the student whilst working on their assignment. Teachers can, however, give guidance on the assignment brief and lesson materials. Grades will not be confirmed until the assessment is complete. Students will not be able to improve upon this grade, so they must concentrate on getting it right the first time. A resubmission will only be authorised if they met the first deadline, and the teacher believes that they can improve without further guidance. Failure to meet deadlines will result in the failure of that piece of work, unless there are extraneous circumstances e.g. certified illness, family bereavement etc. Individual staff cannot decide to let a student resubmit work. If a resubmission is authorised, it must be completed and handed in within 10 working days.

12 How will the universities respond? Currently, some higher education courses accept students with a mix of one or two A levels and some AS achievements and/or vocational qualifications. For students focused on academic qualifications, three A-level grades remains the standard entry requirement. Few universities stipulate any AS requirements, and usually only for very competitive courses such as medicine or dentistry, where an AS grade in a fourth subject might be required in addition to the usual three A levels. Another reason why admissions offices rarely include any AS requirements in their conditional offers is that some (mainly independent) schools do not register their students AS grades until the end of Year 13.

13 How will the universities respond? When the new A-level system is introduced, students will be able to achieve their A-level grades without an AS. It is hard to envisage universities introducing a new admissions requirement for AS achievement for students in England only. Universities will be reluctant to state entry requirements involving qualifications that are not routinely offered in all secondary providers for fear of unfairly disadvantaging some students. 20% of level 3 BTEC holders go on to degree courses. Ninety-five per cent of universities and colleges in the UK accept BTEC students, including competitive universities from the Russell Group. The proportion of sixth-formers taking vocational qualifications has risen from three per cent in 2004 to 15 per cent last year.

14 How will the universities respond? Aston does not expect students to take four or more full A levels to gain entry. As now we make offers based on the best three A levels taken. Students who have additional AS or A levels may show greater breadth in their studies and spread their risk across a wider range of subjects, for example if one of their A level grades is not as strong as expected. We may also review our offers if average grades across England continue to fall as a result of curriculum changes. King s College London understands that partly as a result of curriculum reform and changes in the post-16 funding landscape, a number of schools and colleges believe that they may not be able to offer students a fourth A-level subject. In these cases the College will waive the requirement for the fourth AS

15 How will the universities respond? King s appreciates that under the new post-16 funding model, schools and colleges may find it challenging to offer such a wide range of subjects, especially if the class size is small. King s does not operate a list of unsuitable or less preferred subjects for admissions purposes, but encourages students to consider the skills which each of their qualifications will provide them with and how these will aid them in their transition to the first year of an undergraduate degree. University of Bristol- While we value the breadth which comes with studying 4 subjects at AS-level, we do not expect to introduce a requirement for ASlevels to be taken and do not plan to use them as part of the process to select applicants.

16 How can you shape your future? Think about what you are good at and what you enjoy. Get advice some careers/professions do require you to have taken specific subjects at college. Apply early and don t just follow what your friends are doing. It is about you now, so make sure that you get the best GCSE results that you can. Choose a programme of study that matches your capabilities. Remember, there will be a sharper focus on GCSE performance for university/employment applicants. Begin compiling your CV now.

17 Useful links AQA EDEXCEL OCR WJEC Russell Group Which University

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