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Heads study A level report

PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:08 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK headteachers were today pondering proposed sweeping changes to the beleaguered A-level.

The man responsible for investigating last summer's grades fiasco has now published a blueprint for restoring confidence in the exam.

SUFFOLK headteachers were today pondering proposed sweeping changes to the beleaguered A-level.

The man responsible for investigating last summer's grades fiasco has now published a blueprint for restoring confidence in the exam.

A key point is that exams could be taken earlier so students can apply for university places with their grades already in the bag.

Headteachers in Suffolk were reluctant to comment on the changes until they had studied the report.

Former Ofsted chief Mike Tomlinson said changes introduced after the damning first part of his report in September had eased immediate fears for the exam.

But he proposed wide-ranging changes in a bid to ensure it reclaims its once-vaunted gold standard status.

Mr Tomlinson wants to see the system simplified, with A-levels becoming completely separate from AS-levels in the next five years.

He also recommends changes for exam marking – using technology and trained post-graduates to take the pressure off teachers.

A-level results could also be delayed in future years. Mr Tomlinson belives releasing the results at the same time as GCSEs would also reduce stress.

Although the report is aimed at the future of the education system, the report says elements of the five-year plan can begin straight away.

Mr Tomlinson said: "Reform should not be rushed."

In other proposed changes, retaking modules during the course of A-level studies could get the boot in order to simplify the system.

Schools could also be penalised for late exam entries, as Mr Tomlinson believes they increase pressure caused by massive growth in further education over the last 15 years.

Mr Tomlinson also referred to the first part of his report which saw just 2,000 students regraded across the country.

He stressed the finding of that report was accurate but stressed he was still concerned about the "rogue grades" which seemed in evidence during last years A-levels.

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