Welcome the new A-level, Cambridge

30th July 2010 at 01:00

If the Cambridge dons who have attacked Michael Gove's planned reform of A-levels were actually studying for one themselves, their view might be different ("Cambridge rejects Gove A-level plan," July 23).

For years, teachers and students have complained bitterly at the relentless process of assessment that goes on from Year 10 to Year 13. Something has to give and AS-levels are the obvious candidate.

The introduction by the Dearing review of the modular AS in 2000 broke up the coherence of subject courses at 16-19 and imposed yet another assessment point on to already over-burdened students. Examination costs have spiralled and the boasted flexibility of the modular system has led to a widespread retake culture which now extends into universities. After all, if Cambridge is so happy with the current state of A-levels, why did it put so much effort and money into developing the Cambridge Pre-U as an alternative?

I hope Mr Gove sticks to his guns and ignores Cambridge's luddite refusal to accept change.

Sean Lang, Senior lecturer in history, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

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