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Changes to A Level

Currently, in order to achieve an ‘A’ Level, students take half the qualification, the AS Level, at the end of their first year and this is half of the A level qualification. In the second year they take the A2, and the results of the AS and the A2 together produce an A Level.

From September 2015-2018, A Levels are changing and will become linear. This means that all A Level exams will be taken at the end of two years of study. The changes are being carried out in three waves, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The following 11 subjects will move to the new linear structure from September 2015:

Art and Design
Biology Business Studies
Chemistry
Computer Science
Economics
English Language and Literature English
Literature
History
Physics
Psychology

What about AS Level?

The AS will still exist, but it will no longer contribute to the A Level grade for the new subjects – a process called ‘decoupling’; the AS will then be a freestanding qualification. This will come into effect as each subject is reformed. AS qualifications are being designed to be taught alongside the first year of an A level course. In other words you could have students in a Yr 12 class some of whom are just taking an AS, and some who will take the A2 at the end of the two years.

So what are we doing at KBA?

During the period of transition from the old style to the new style A levels, so between 2015 to 2018, most of our students will continue to study 4 AS qualifications in the first year of A level dropping to 3 in the second year. Some may start with only 3 however this will depend on the student’s ability level and propensity to cope with stress and how good their time management skills are. All students at KBA will continue to take the free standing AS levels and then both students and staff will use the AS results to assist them in making a decision about which subject to drop in Y13. Taking the AS exams will also be an important opportunity for students to review the learning that has taken place in the first year of the course and they will help identify any skill gaps the students have thus allowing staff to clearly identify areas that need to be re taught or revisited in more detail and depth.

Universities value AS results as a good indication of A level success as the statement below from Cambridge University demonstrates.