A-level shake up will 'end the treadmill' of repeated exams


Education Minister Elizabeth Truss has outlined the government's proposed reforms to A-levels in England, telling MPs the changes will "end the treadmill" of repeated exams.

Under the shake-up, pupils will take exams at the end of two-year courses. AS-levels will remain, but as a stand-alone exam, and will no longer count towards a full A-level.

Labour claimed AS-levels would be "rendered irrelevant" by the proposals.

The changes, which will see leading universities play a bigger role in maintaining standards, are expected to take effect in England in 2015.

Ms Truss told the Commons: "Pupils spend too much of their time thinking about exams and resits of exams that encourage a 'learn and forget' approach to studying.

"We want to end this treadmill of repeated exams that do not properly test advanced skills such as extended writing and mathematical problem-solving.

"We want questions that encourage students to think and prepare for university study. Not a satnav series of exams."

Shadow education minister Kevin Brennan said leading universities were opposed to the change.

"To describe this as a complete dog's dinner would be an insult to the pet food industry," he said.

Scotland has a different exam system, while the devolved governments in Wales and Northern Ireland will make their own decisions about whether to implement the changes to A-levels.

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