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GCSE exams has already gone linear several years ago, and have changed further, with revised and often harder content and exam questions, and a new 9 (best) to 1 grading system.Coursework has been cut back (for instance GCSE Maths now doesn't involve any) and fewer subjects now offer ‘tiered’ exams (different exam papers aimed at higher / lower achievers).
The new AS also counts, but only for 40% of an A level.
University offers may be in terms of specific A-level grades (for which extra AS subjects don’t help) or total points count (in which an extra AS can be included).
Although content has been revised, the most challenging reform from a student’s perspective is the abolition of modular examining.
All exams are now taken at the end of the course, and retaking bits of the exam to improve overall grades is no longer possible.
Government figures on 2018 exam entries show AS entries fell by 60% between 20 exam sessions, following another large drop the year before.
Anecdotal evidence from independent schools suggests that many are abandoning AS as an end-of-lower-sixth qualification.Many state schools continue to use AS as a useful target for students (when A level was linear many years ago, students often didn’t work as hard as they needed to in lower sixth), but other schools have scrapped it: entering for public exams costs money, and takes time away from class.For sixth forms under severe budget pressures, especially in the state FE sector, the cost of offering ‘extra’ AS options for relatively limited benefit has resulted in significant cuts in provision.How comparable outcomes are brought about relies on a mixture of statistical analysis and judgement calls based on hard-to-quantify concepts such as ‘difficulty’.Grade stability in practice involves adjustments to the ‘grade boundaries’ – the cut off marks for each grade.The sections which follow describe the changes in detail.Just click on the They too are linear but, unlike the modular exams they replace, they do not count towards a student’s A-level results.As described in the ‘Guide to AS and A level results for England 2018’, exam boards operate on the principle of ‘comparable outcomes’: that if the ability of the cohort of students is similar to previous years, they would expect results (outcomes) to be similar.This means that, in general, students who would have achieved a grade A in one year would achieve a grade A in another year.That in turn relies on the assumption that students in any year are pretty similar (on average) to ones in past years.That assumption is reasonable unless, as is currently happening at AS, the number and or the nature of students taking an exam changes rapidly.