Should A-levels be replaced by diplomas and admissions tests?

An article in The Times looks at calls for A-levels scrapped in favour of standard admissions tests and a diploma system to “transform learning”.

By Richard Fraser, Editor

In an article in The Times (Replace A-levels with SATs, urges Birmingham University chief Sir David Eastwood) Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, has called for called for admissions to be separated from sixth-form teaching, with A-levels scrapped in favour of American-style standard admissions tests and a diploma system to “transform learning”.

He said a "well-constructed standardised assessment test (SAT)" would identify students’ academic potential without requiring them to be “lavishly prepared or crammed”. The SATs could sit alongside an overhauled sixth-form curriculum following a diploma model, in which students should study a broader curriculum with a wider range of assessment methods.

In the article, he comments:

“Pupil understanding would be greater, their range of skills and competence richer, and teachers would be empowered.

“Pupils’ subject understanding could be complemented as they simultaneously develop other skills. We would have a system which retained the depth that distinguishes A-levels with the breadth whose absence many employers and universities have bemoaned.”

The future and purpose of the curriculum and assessment is something we explore in a recent article in SecEdJoin the debate and let us know what you think.

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