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Mourn the passing of AS levels

Michael Gove's fudge on AS-level reform effectively sounds their demise. AS levels don't fuel grade inflation, as some argue, but have been important in raising post-16 attainment. They serve as a halfway benchmark for students and schools, while allowing universities to make more informed offers. Because they widen the curriculum and promote greater choice, students are better able to identify career pathways. AS levels' passing can only result in higher dropout rates, lower engagement and the disappearance of some subjects. This threatens not only teachers' jobs but also the very existence of subjects important to the UK's creative industries, and seems particularly perplexing when the school leaving age will rise to 18 by 2015.

Neil Roskilly, Chief executive, the Independent Schools Association.

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