You may be aware that AS and A level qualifications are undergoing significant changes within the UK with the end of a tripartite agreement on qualifications between England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- England will decouple the AS level from the A level in certain subjects – reformed A levels will be phased in with the first revised A level results in 2017.
- Teaching A levels will be in a linear format rather than a modular one apart from Maths, Further Maths and Design and Technology.
- Subjects reformed will be: Sciences, English, Art/Design, Business, Computer Science, Economics, History, Sociology and Psychology.
- Additional subjects such as Maths, Ancient and Modern Languages and Geography will be developed at a later stage.
- Many schools will expect students to start out by studying four subjects but may opt out of taking the fourth subject to a full A level during the course of the sixth form study.
Reformed qualifications and university offers:
Most universities will continue as they have done in assessing university applications holistically using a combination of elements consisting of the a) predicted grades, b) the personal statement, c) the reference, d) contextual information about the school, e) possible interviews, supplementary work to be submitted, additional exams required eg STEP and individual course requirements.
- The main change when making offers is that the AS level will not be necessary for most subjects; if it is required it will be specified as an extra requirement on the eligibility criteria on the departmental websites.
- Most universities including the Russell Group will make their offers based on three full A levels. Any extra qualifications required will be published on the eligibility requirements and ‘Essential Subjects’ section of each university website.
- Students taking AS levels may still wish to take them as a useful measure of their academic performance but they will not be widely required – the AS result will be separately awarded and certificated.
- Science subjects will have a Practical Skills test results of which will be included in the offer.