In light of the reforms to A Levels, that have been introduced this year, it is necessary to outline Buckswood’s strategy as we move forward.
Currently A Levels are ‘modular’ with scholars sitting AS exams in the summer of Lower Sixth (50%) and A2 exams in the summer of Upper Sixth (50%). Combined, students receive a final A level grade, usually in August of Upper Sixth.
The new reformed A Level will be linear, with all public exams at the end of the two year course in the summer of Upper Sixth. AS exams will still exist in reformed A Levels, however, these stand-alone (decoupled) qualifications will not contribute to final A Level, but can be sat as individual qualifications and contribute towards university entry.This affects only some subjects in the first year: English, History, Chemistry, Biology, Physics Business Studies, Economics and Art. Other reformed subjects will come on line in 2016 and 2017.
As a result of these changes, scholars at Buckswood will sit Internal examinations (set and marked by the school – based on exemplar material) in their linear subjects, rather than external AS examinations, that although set and marked externally, contribute nothing to the final A level mark*.Scholars will sit internal examinations at the end of the summer term (they also do these in Feb). We believe that by examining scholars in this way, there is more pedagogical value, as they are able to spend more time acquiring a greater depth of knowledge in their subject.Universities will use the internal marks achieved by our students, plus their personal statement, teacher reference and other criteria when deciding whether to offer scholars university places in the Upper Sixth.
It is important that scholars achieve positive grades during internal assessment in order to make the transition to Upper Sixth; the same rules which apply to our IB programme.
Finally, it is important to note, for those thinking of studying at University, all institutions will make offers based on THREE grades at full A Level. A Buckswood scholar can expect to start with 3 A levels (from Core 1-3) plus an AS (standalone) in Option 4 or EFL (International students), with international students also studying an A level in their own language.
*It is worth noting that there may be situations whereby we decide that it is in the best interests of individual scholars to sit the external paper.