Many staff and students have expressed serious concern over the national ASA2 exam timetabling arrangements in England and Wales this year. Many AS exams have been timetabled from mid-May, which has made teaching the full specification virtually impossible. Moreover, AS students can no longer complete a revision programme over the late May half term. These changes will almost certainly have an impact on students' exam performance.
This pressure for earlier and earlier exams (pushed by the Government's desire to see earlier publication of results) is, in my view, misguided and damaging students' educational development and prospects.
If the Government is seeking a genuine post-exam university application system, it needs to think this through more carefully and propose a later start to the higher education autumn term or even a January start to the academic year. This would give students the opportunity to save money for their tuition and living expenses, undertake community service or travel.
With the reduction in the number of unit assessments in the revised ASA2 specifications from September 2008, it is hoped that some sanity can be restored to national exam timetabling and that students can be allowed the time to study the full programme and take up a wide range of enrichment activities.
Stephen Page, Keinton Mandeville, Somerset.