In an attempt to make A Levels more challenging and rigorous, as of September 2015, A levels are set to change. The changes to A Levels are to be phased in. From September 2015, changes will be introduced for subjects such as Biology, Chemistry and English. However, changes to Maths and other subjects will be introduced in 2016 or 2017. Exams will be linear – they will be taken at the end of two years. This will make retaking, if not impossible, a lot harder.
However will the decision to make A Levels harder and limit retakes benefit students?
First of all, how will UCAS work after the reform? Teachers and UCAS rely on AS grades to predict A2 grades. Surely not having AS grades will make the process of UCAS more strenuous for both parties? Students will not have any way to indicate their ability except for GCSE grades. However, relying on GCSEs alone can be misleading.
Conversely, reducing the amount of retakes may drive up standards. Some students, possibly under the assumption that they can retake the next year, do not try their hardest. However, only getting one shot will encourage some students to take A Levels more seriously.
Also, the new system may be better for selecting candidates for University. If you have retaken a subject three times then you will probably be more likely to get an A* in the subject than someone who has only taken the exam once. With the proposed reforms to A Levels, students who get their grades the first time may have a fairer opportunity in the selection process.
However, the burden put on young adults should also be considered. Stress creeps into aspects of everyday life and the amount of stress in doing all your exams in one sitting will be great. One shot to get it right!
Whether the reforms for A Levels will hinder students or encourage students to reach their potential – only time will tell.
By Linda Olugbemi Moronfolu – 17