TES Forums - Wider take on A-levels

20th August 2010 at 01:00


Academic exam success is only one measure of a pupil's performance. For those who have other provable talents, the education system has an obligation to find ways in which to recognise and reward other successes. The 201011 academic year may yet provide another year of "better than ever" exam grades but let's hope that there is a move towards greater honesty and transparency in how pupil performance is measured.


Making silk purses out of silk purses is a doddle. My problem is the poor deal ordinary kids now get at A-level and the calibre of some staff teaching to A-level.


A-levels as such ought to be scrapped and replaced with modules of competence which are simply passed or failed, with a module taking about three months to complete. Subjects that are mainly writing based - media studies, sociology, history, literature, etc, should be realigned as tests of written communication skills, centred on a "subject", but with the "academic" analysis and "knowledge" removed. For example, "written skills based on films 1", "written skills based on politics 2".


I do feel my two As and a B were worth something in 1973. It sounds pathetic these days. What are we training people to do? Simply to go on to uni to embark on some course or other that's similarly devalued? Is this because we have no worthwhile jobs to give them? When will they ever have the skills to work?

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