The revised A-Levels

22nd September 2006 at 01:00
Art and design

The exam will be 100 per cent internally marked then moderated externally .

Design and technology

Between 30 and 60 per cent of the course will be internally assessed, in line with current practice.

Drama

Up to 40 per cent of assessment will be done internally, as it is now, and students will be expected to study at least two plays at AS and a further two at A-level.

Alison Warren, secretary of National Drama, said members had wanted fewer compulsory plays and performance assessment increased to 50 per cent. "I've got no problem with there being academic parts to the course but assessment should be weighted towards performance," she said. "That's why most students take it."

English

Internal assessment will rise from the current 30 per cent to a new limit of 40 per cent.

Literature students will study 12 rather than eight texts. These must include one Shakespeare play, one author from 1300 to 1800, one from 1800 to 1945 and one post-1990. Previously there was no stipulation to study contemporary literature.

Geography

All assessment will be external. But fieldwork is included in criteria for both AS and A-level Courses should reflect the changing ideas and concepts of geography in the 21st century, making it more relevant to everyday life. Students will also be expected to use geographical information systems (GIS) and other modern information technologies.

David Lambert, the chief executive of the Geographical Association hoped the new criteria would leave room for controlled assignments, where pupils could carry out supervised practical work then have it marked externally.

Government and politics All assessment will be external.

Changes include more emphasis on critical thinking and understanding the rights and responsibilities of the individual.

Steve Buckley, chairman of the Politics Association and head of humanities at Barrow in Furness sixth form college, said it was disappointing the course's official title remained government and politics. "It's very 19th century and old-fashioned," he said. "Students think it's just about men in suits."

History

Internal assessment will be compulsory for 15 to 20 per cent of the qualification.

A minimum of a quarter of the course will be on British history, or the history of England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales.

Heather Scott, chair of the Historical Association's secondary school committee, said teachers would appreciate the greater emphasis it would place on giving pupils a "holistic" understanding of their subjects.

Students will have to demonstrate they understand the process of change, both short term and over a term longer than 100 years.

Information and communication technology Between 15 and 40 per cent of assessment will be done internally.

Jim Merret, a spokesman for the ICT teachers' association NAACE, said: "The reforms should help to maintain standards and consistency while allowing some flexibility as the world of ICT continues to evolve."

Modern languages

All assessment will be external and no dictionaries will be allowed in exams. New grammar lists will also be drawn up.

Kevin Dunne, from the Association of Language Learning, said the change in grammar criteria was good but should follow changes at GCSE, not precede them. He said the leap from GCSE to A-level was still a problem and that "childish" GCSE content should be removed.

Maths

No new revisions are being made in 2008 because changes were already made to maths A-level in 2004, which were included in exam papers for the first time this year.

Media studies

Between 40 and 50 per cent of the exam will be assessed internally.

Music

It will remain a six-unit course.

Up to 50 per cent of assessment will be done internally. Edexcel currently allows only 15 per cent internal assessment.

Bruce Grindlay, from the Music Masters' and Mistresses' Association, said teachers had hoped for more emphasis on synoptic assessment of listening, performing and composing.

Physical education

Between 30 and 50 per cent of assessment will be internal.

There will be more assessment of practical work, including non-competitive activities such officiating and leadership.

Science (biology, chemistry, physics) A third of the course will be internally assessed.

Teachers have also persuaded the QCA to keep the course to six units to rather than reduce it to four.

Marianne Cutler, a director of the Association of Science Education, said:

"If they reduced the number of units it would have squeezed out the practical elements of the subjects. There was a very big response from science teachers and we are glad the QCA has listened to us."

Mrs Cutler said science teachers would also applaud a new requirement that pupils must be taught to "appreciate the ways in which society uses science to inform decision-making".

Accounting, business studies, classics, citizenship, economics, general studies and law

All will be entirely externally assessed.

Full criteria available at: www.qca.org.uk12265_16132.htm

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