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2015 plans to separate AS-levels from A2s causes wide controversy

Posted by Hannah Walker in

As of September 2015 the education system in England will undergo a variety of changes across the board. One of which includes the separation of AS-levels, which are formally taken at the end of year 12, from A2s, which are sat at the end of year 13. Under the current system, these two grades combine to produce a pupil's overall grade that is then used for university applications. However, as of next year this is set to change. Pupils will no longer have to sit exams at the end of year 12; instead, they will have a continuous two-year course, with final exams being sat at the end of year 13. AS-levels are planned to become an entirely different qualification.

The decision has become highly controversial among education experts, ministers and head teachers. Cambridge University has recently distributed letters to schools across England urging them not to divide the two stating that AS-level exams at the end of year 12 offer universities a "strong measure of applicants' recent academic progress." When applying for university, students must provide their current AS-level grades and predicted grades from their tutors, which are based on their results at the end of year 12. Dr. Mike Sewell, who is director of admissions at Selwyn College, Cambridge, believes that AS-level exams are vital for both pupil and university to gauge their current academic status. He says: ""¦[it] will assist us and the students in judging whether an application to Cambridge is likely to be competitive, and will provide reassurance that grade predictions are not relied upon too heavily in a new system." While some MPs have argued that changes should not affect university admissions, Labour has insisted that it would reverse any changes made, allowing for AS-levels to remain at the end of year 12.

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