Why do so many people question the significance of the new one-year A level

01:00 Mon 04th Jun 2001 |

asks Jimbobman:
This is the first year of the new A level system, which was introduced by the Government to offer a broader sixth form education.

Q. How does it work
It allows schools to teach more subjects, and students can take four or five AS level (one year) subjects in the first year of sixth form before they choose three A levels (or A2s, as they are now known).

Q. Sounds like a good idea, so what's the problem
For a start, there aren't enough people to mark the new AS level exams, which 100,000 sixth formers are due to sit shortly. The exam boards are still appealing for extra people to become markers.

Yes, that could be a little tricky...
And many schools are racing to complete the syllabuses, as the second largest teaching union, the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, recently confirmed. That leaves the students absolutely no time for revision.

Q. Anything else
Yes. Books for the courses have been in short supply and there are no sample exam papers to be had, so students have no idea what to expect. And, worst of all, because of this chaotic start to the new exam system some students will have to sit up to eight hours of exams a day.

Q. What effect will that have
According to the National Association of Head Teachers, the results will not be a true indication of a student's aptitude - you can't compare the ability of someone who's sitting their third exam of the day with another who's fresh. But students who sit lots of exams in one day won't get any special consideration, according to the Joint Council for General Qualifications, the umbrella body for the exam boards. However, it does say that it will use the information gathered this year to reduce subject clashes next year.�

Q. Will it all be worth it in the end
Maybe not. According to the author of a new guide to getting a degree course, taking a fourth or fifth A level is pointless, because most universities still only ask for three A level passes. However, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service dispute this, saying that 70% of universities plan to make offers based on entrance points, which give credit for extra AS levels.

Do you have a question about the news Post it here

By Sheena Miller

Do you have a question about News?