Our Response to A-Level Reform

Current Year 13 students now applying through UCAS for 2020 entry were offered the following programme at the beginning of Year 12 in September 2018:

  • Three A-levels (as two-year courses; all taught by subject specialists)
  • Plus an additional option of one of the following:
-  A fourth A-level (for students with a high GCSE APS; taught by subject specialists)
-  The Extended Project (started in September 2018 and finishing in July 2019 for a November 2019 entry; taught through a lecture programme and timetabled sessions with non-specialist supervisors)
-  Core Maths as a two-year course (taught by subject specialists)
-  GCSE retakes (if relevant) in English and Mathematics (timetabled and taught by subject specialists for a November 2017 entry initially).

We have chosen not to offer standalone AS-level entry for students undertaking reformed linear A-levels. There are two exceptions to this general rule:

1. If a student is discontinuing the subject after one year (please note in this case students were in a minority in their class and whilst the ‘co-teachable’ nature of the AS and A-level should have allowed for students to have covered appropriate AS content, many may not have had much experience of AS exam practice and feedback)

2. If teachers have concerns about the student’s ability to pass the full A-level (the external AS result has then been used as a further piece of evidence to assess whether or not a student should continue with the subject into Year 13)

Our decision to offer reformed A-levels as a two-year linear course (without an external AS entry) was based on our belief that students should be working at full A-level standard from the very beginning of the course and that AS would be an unnecessary distraction (especially as AS papers have different assessment weightings and structures to the full A-level papers).

In order to arise at a predicted grade for students undertaking a reformed A-level, internal summer mock exams were set, based on full A-level specimen papers (not AS papers). These grades along with other elements such as internal assessments throughout the year and a student’s Alps grade have enabled us to be confident in our predictions.

Predicted grades for the Extended Project Qualification are based on internally moderated marks which will be subject to external moderation in November 2019.

For any further questions on our approach to A-level reform, please contact Mr J A Saunders (Assistant Headteacher/Head of Sixth Form) via e-mail: saundersj@bishopluffa.org.uk