To AS or not to AS? That is the question…

…that was asked on the TES resources page where I uploaded the Programme of Study. The school decision is to go purely linear, so no AS exams offered in any (new spec) subject, at least for the first couple of years. One of the major factors influencing this was the fact that the AS is a stand-alone qualification, so would have to be certificated and declared on UCAS forms when pupils were in Y13. Many of our pupils make significant improvements between AS and A2 exams at the moment, and therefore (at present) a weak performance at AS is not necessarily a true reflection of their final grade. In addition, one benefit of a linear course is that Y12 can become more of a year for wider learning, with opportunity to do lots of time-consuming extra-curricular activities without worrying about the impact on exam performance. Introducing an AS certainly loses that flexibility.

In terms of UCAS predictions, we’re going to have to use a rigorously marked internal exam at the end of summer term (timing to be decided by the powers that be!). It won’t be as reliable an indicator as a proper external exam, but at least it won’t be a blot on someone’s UCAS form. It may be that we can use the actual AS paper for the internal exam, but this will depend on timings and availability of the paper: I’ve yet to explore e-AQA in depth, so I have no idea how quickly papers become available: that’s another job added to the To Do list!

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