A level reform
Tim Leslie, Director of Strategic Reform
Responsibilities for reform
Government – Department for Education
Overall policy on qualifications
Content/curriculum development
Exam boards
Design and delivery of qualifications
Responsibilities for reform
Regulatory oversight
– Standards
– Purpose
– Fairness
Recognition and accreditation
Qualifications reform – our aim
We want qualifications that properly prepare
young people for their next steps in education
or work, that represent a level playing field for
all students and which give valid results people
can have confidence in.
Purpose of qualifications
The primary purpose of new GCSEs is to provide
evidence of students’ achievements against
demanding and fulfilling content, a strong foundation
for further academic and vocational study and for
employment. If required, they should be able to
provide a basis for schools and colleges to be held
accountable for the performance of all their students.
Purpose of qualifications
A levels should:
define and assess achievement of the knowledge, skills and
understanding which will be needed by students planning to progress
to undergraduate study at a UK higher education establishment,
particularly (although not only) in the same subject area a strong
foundation for further academic and vocational study and for
set out a robust and internationally comparable post-16 academic
course of study to develop that knowledge, skills and understanding
permit UK universities accurately to identify the level of attainment of
provide a basis for school and college accountability measures at age
18, and
provide a benchmark of academic ability for employers
GCSE reform decisions
Structure – linear, exams in the summer (November resits for maths
and English language for those aged 16+)
Assessment – only by exam where possible
Tiering – only where necessary
Grading – numbered scale from 1 to 9, 9 is the highest
GCSE reform decisions
Subjects for teaching from September 2015:
Maths - exam only, tiered
English literature – exam only, not tiered
English language – exam only, speaking assessment reported
separately, not tiered
GCSE reform decisions
Subjects for teaching from September 2016:
Combined science
Modern foreign languages
Ancient languages
Subject content for these already published by DfE
– History and geography – assessment by exam only
– Will be consulting on assessment arrangements for science
– Consultation on modern foreign and ancient languages running
GCSE reform decisions
More subjects for teaching from September 2016:
Religious studies
Design and technology
Physical education
Art and design
Computer science
Citizenship studies
– Curriculum and assessment arrangements to be consulted on
later this year
More new GCSEs for teaching from September 2017
– Will be consulting on how content should be developed
– Propose all GCSEs taught from September 2017 will be new
GCSE reform proposals – standard setting
Standard setting consultation running now
We propose:
Current grade C = new grade 4
Same proportion of students who currently get A & A* will get new
grade 7 or above
New grade 9 awarded to smaller proportion than currently get A*
Consultation events
3 June
11 June
5 June
17 June
6 June
18 June
A level reform decisions
Subjects for teaching from September 2015:
English language
Computer science
English literature
English language and literature
Art and design
A level reform decisions
Assessment arrangements
Non-exam assessment in:
– 20% in English language, English literature, English language and
literature, computer science and history
– Art and design, 100% non-exam assessment
Exam only in:
– Biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, business, economics,
– Requirement in the sciences to undertake a minimum of 12
practical activities, which will be assessed and reported separately
on qualification certificate
A level reform decisions
Subjects for teaching from September 2016:
Design and technology
Further maths
Modern foreign languages
Ancient languages
Physical education
Religious studies
– Consultations on content and assessment arrangements to come
AS qualification reform decisions
Standalone – does not count towards the A level grade
Assessment – by exam only where possible, at end of course
except art and design, 100% non-exam assessment
Co-teachable – can be taught alongside first year of A level
Demand – less demanding than an A level, as now
Talk to us
Email us
Phone us
0300 303 3346
Tweet us
Find our consultations on our website

A level reform - University of Leeds