Gove’s A Level plans a ‘huge gamble’

Plans for rapid changes to A-levels are “high-risk” and a “huge gamble”, elite independent school heads say.

The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference is concerned about A-levels being introduced in 2015 without trialling them first, according to the Times Educational Supplement.

All A-levels will become linear, with exams at the end, under the changes. The government said details of the new qualifications would be available a year before they are first taught.

But Dr William Richardson, general secretary of the HMC, said: “It is a huge gamble to rush so much change at high speed with no piloting.” He added: “It is high-risk. You can’t be sure of the consequences.”

His warning comes a few days before candidates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland get their A-level results, which are not expected to rise significantly and may even drop slightly as a clampdown on grade inflation continues.

Dr Richardson, whose organisation represents schools such as Eton and Harrow, predicts the reformed A-levels – championed by Education Secretary Michael Gove – will continue a trend towards lower grades. “If you enter students for three linear A levels, the assessment regime is less predictable for them in their weakest subject because they have had no milestones along the way to help them calibrate their achievement,” he adds.

This if further evidence of the incompetence of Michael Gove. When making a major overhaul of something as vital as the A level curriculum, you surely must run a pilot first, otherwise there are so many pitfalls. A good example is a drastic crash in grades come the end of the courses, which leaves many students unable to get into university due to lack of scores. This is all assuming that the universities will keep the same requirements to get on their courses, and why shouldn’t they? A lack of people going into university will mean the universities will lose income and pretty much destroy the entire economy that the government are trying to produce.

Of course all that is rather negative, but it is also realistic. This of course may be a complete success and everyone’s grades go skyrocketing up ridiculously high, but I think we can agree that this simply is unlikely to happen.


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