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Conflicts of AS reforms

In your leader on Sir Ron Dearing's review (TES, March 29) it was a surprise that you omitted any reference to the conflicts inherent in the proposal to reformulate the Advanced Supplementary (AS) examination into the first half of an A-level.

While Sir Ron appears to have recognised your point that A-levels can never be more than a fraction of the answer, he seems, at the same time, to be extending opportunities for A-level study through the suggestion that the first half of A-level syllabuses should be at the level expected after one year's study, leaving just the second half at the full standard.

This approach contrasts with the need declared elsewhere in the report to maintain A-level standards and is further compounded by asking the universities to afford the reformulated AS half the number of Universities and Colleges Admissions Service points available for a full A-level. The fact that half the points will reflect achievement at a lower level will not be lost on them.

CLIVE R HART Assistant chief executive, School Examinations and Assessment Council, 1988-93 Cherry Tree Close Hughenden Valley High Wycombe Bucks.

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