Concerns over exams

Jake Begley and Karis Gorst discuss their views on changes to A Levels.
Jake Begley and Karis Gorst discuss their views on changes to A Levels.
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SOCIOLOGY students have shared their views on Government changes to the A-level examination system.

The teenagers have raised concerns about what the changes, which will come into force from 2015 and see pupils take exams only at the end of two-year courses, would mean.

The students, who study the education system as part of their A-level course at Blackpool Sixth Form, have joined teachers across the Fylde coast who have raised concerns about the Education Secretary, Michael Gove’s, announcement.

Teachers have said that cramming exams into a short period of time is not the best approach to reforming the system, which currently examines pupils at four points through a two year course of study.

Karis Gorst, 16, a first year student from Layton, said: “Leaving all the exams to the end of the second year is going to put more pressure on students, so if you do three subjects you’re probably going to end up doing at least nine exams in a short time.

“All this pressure is going to mean they won’t be performing to their full potential.”

And fellow student Jake Begley, from Kirkham, spoke from experience when he raised concerns that the changes may disadvantage students with additional needs.

The 16-year-old said: “I am one of the 10 per cent of the population who are dyslexic and am also in the four per cent who are severely dyslexic.

“In my experience, taking GCSEs in smaller chunks and starting my A-levels in a similar way has allowed me to be successful and gain qualifications.

“Under this new reform however this will not be an option for people like me.”

Blackpool Sixth Form College said it has noted with interest the announcement of the changes.

Mr Gove announced last week that modular assessment is to be scrapped in favour of the end-of-course exams, which he said will allow students to develop a “deep understanding” of subjects.

The AS-level exam will remain, but will become a stand-alone qualification, taken alongside full A-levels after two years in the sixth form.

Teachers at the college on Blackpool Old Road have said they welcome the move away from modular assessment, which would allow them to spend extra time on topics with students.

But the college will look to continue to offer AS-level courses which they often see students flourish in.

Principal Felicity Greeves said: “A positive aspect of the proposed changes may well be more teaching time for A-level students over the two years – we would of course welcome that.

“We would want to keep running the AS qualifications as they help broaden the choice for students in the first year and help them decide which subjects to take into the final year.”