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Informing the Reforms research launched

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Informing the Reforms

NUS have today launched new research ‘Informing the Reforms’. It is the first national survey of students’ views of the reforms to A levels and was conducted jointly with OCR exam board.

The results of the research show that students are extremely concerned about the changes to A level qualifications, in particular the removal of the AS level as a standalone qualification, the reduction in coursework and the move to linear assessment.

Almost 1800 students across FE and HE in England were surveyed from January to March 2014.

The reformed A level qualifications will have a reduced amount of coursework, with assessment only at the end of the two year qualification. Re-sits will also only be available the following summer, and only in the form of re-taking the whole A level rather than individual modules.

AS levels will be stand-alone qualifications and will no longer contribute to an A level grade.

Key statistics from the research:

  • Just eight per cent of respondents said that the reforms would make A levels more attractive to students.
  • Almost three quarters (73 per cent) said they would only pick a standalone AS level if Universities included them in offers and 61 per cent said that without AS results as an indicator of progress it would be more difficult to apply to University.
  • Almost seven in ten (68 per cent) said the new A levels would be no better preparation for a job.
  • 42 per cent said that they did not receive enough Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) about career choices and choice of study before they made their A level subject choices.
  • Eighty-nine per cent said that a reduction in the opportuntiy to re-sit will unfairly penalise students who have faced significant upheaval in their education and need a second chance.

In response to these findings NUS Vice President (Further Education) Joe Vinson said:

'NUS is calling on the government to listen to students and to rethink the reforms. The reforms as they stand will not work, which NUS suspected, and now students have confirmed. There was not one positive statistic relating to proposed reforms.

We need to give young people the best chance of getting into the right university or chosen career path, and reforms in their current configuration do not offer this. We urge the government to take into account the opinions of students, documented by the findings.'

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