A Level Reform and what it means to students

What is A Level reform?

You may have seen in the news that A Levels are changing. This reform is driven by the UK Government and aims to better equip students for university and employment. The changes are part of a national initiative to ensure that the value of A Levels is maintained in the future.

What is changing?

  • AS qualifications are becoming standalone and not count towards A2. At the moment, AS assessments contribute to students’ final A Level grades.
  • AS qualifications and A Levels will be assessed at the end of the course. AS and A Level qualifications will become linear qualifications officially assessed at the end of the course. Students will not have to take exam board assessments halfway through an A Level course, as they have done previously. They will sit all the exams together at the end of a two-year A Level course.
  • Greater emphasis on exams as the most effective form of assessment. Many A Levels are already assessed by examination only, but others mix exams and coursework. This may be changed. In the future, coursework will be limited to a maximum of 20% of marks for any subject. Coursework will only form part of the assessment where it is recognised that skills cannot be fairly assessed by examination. For all other subjects, assessment will be by exam only. In sciences, a practical assessment will be reported separately as a pass or fail, rather than as part of the A Level grade.

What is staying the same?

  • A Levels will continue to be a two year course, as they always have been.
  • The grading system (A* to E) will stay the same.
  • The value of A Levels will remain unchanged. The qualifications will still allow universities to accurately identify the level of achievement of students, and provide a benchmark of academic ability for employers. A Levels remain an internationally comparable Post 16 academic course of study.