AS-level reform

13 February 2013

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“AS-levels in their existing form are valued by universities.

“We have argued that AS-levels in their current format are important in giving students the opportunity to take an additional smaller qualification in a contrasting subject alongside their main A-level subjects. This adds valuable breadth and flexibility to their learning programme, and can encourage the take-up of strategically important subjects.  We are not convinced therefore that a new stand-alone AS qualification is necessary and are concerned that with no links to the A-level, it may not deliver the same benefits as the existing AS-levels.

“Results from AS-levels taken in Year 12 are useful to universities in the admissions process, especially in considering applications for the most competitive courses.  Without access to such information, it will be even more difficult for our institutions to identify the most talented students from amongst the very many applicants with excellent results at GCSE.

“AS-level results after one year of study can also be effective in giving talented students from poorer backgrounds the confidence to apply to a highly selective university, thus helping to widen participation. 

“Whilst we have welcomed the Government’s review of the modular structure of the A-level, we do not believe this need be extended to the complete removal of the AS examination from the A-level.”

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