Gove reforms A-Levels

So in the same week that Gove said school’s shouldn’t call snow days, he’s calling for reform over A-Levels. Gove has been hellbent on changing the education system, so that it’s more like it used to be, more like his experience. It’s quite possible that this isn’t the best idea an Education Secretary has ever had.

From 2015, students will no longer be able to do modular exams towards their final A-Levels. They’ll have to do all their exams at the end of the 2 year course. AS levels will still exist, but they’ll become stand alone qualifications. This sounds like a two-tier system to me, similar to the one Gove wants to bring in for GCSE reforms. His arguments for this are:

  • He feels that A-Levels, as they currently are, fail to prepare students for university.
  • He wants them to have a deeper understanding before they go to university
  • He also believes that universities and business want greater rigour and the current system doesn’t provide this.

You can watch him explain it here. What is interesting though, is the amount of criticism and disagreement that has come from both universities and business. For example, on Twitter this afternoon, Cambridge University said that the reforms will:

“jeopardise over a decade’s progress towards fairer access to the University of Cambridge”

screen-capture-3And here’s more information about they think being reported on Twitter from FT Education correspondant, Chris Cook. Also, Neil Carberry, the CBI’s director of employment and skills said:

“Businesses want more rigorous exams but we’re concerned that these changes aren’t being linked up with other reforms, especially to GCSEs. We need a more coherent overall system.”

Not only that, but it will mean that universities are going to have to rely more heavily on school references in order to offer places to students.

So if some Universities and business leaders are criticising it, feeling that it’s rushed and incoherent  then why on earth is it all happening so quickly. Surely, Gove should be having an open dialogue with a variety of educationalists in order to do the best thing for students, instead of just pushing his own agenda. This is going to be problematic for a lot of students.

That’s not to say that the current A-Level system is perfect. It isn’t at all and it does need looking at but what Gove is suggesting doesn’t seem to make the system better for the majority either. What a shock.

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