Russell Group universities ‘to review new A-level exams’

From ‘s article in The Telegraph:

The Russell Group, which represents 24 leading institutions including Oxford and Cambridge, is to launch an immediate review of exam questions and course syllabuses […] The sciences, maths and foreign languages could be subject to the biggest changes. […] Maths professors have become increasing alarmed at the “overly structured” and “formulaic approach” to the subject at A-level […]

Prof Nigel Thrift, vice-chancellor of Warwick, said it would form an independent company – [Alcab],  the A-level Content Advisory Body – to represent the views of Russell Group universities and consult other higher education institutions and learned societies.

It will focus on the “facilitating subjects” seen as essential in the sixth-form – maths, further maths, English literature, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and both modern and classical languages.

In a letter to Mr Gove, Prof Thrift, who will lead the board, said it would review these A-levels between now and the autumn to “identify where changes are required to ensure the subjects are fit for purpose”.

It will mean delaying the introduction of new-style A-levels in these subjects from 2015 to 2016 if changes are needed, he said.

Prof Thrift also said that the advisory body would contribute to Ofqual’s “longer-term” monitoring of A-levels “to make sure that new qualifications are reviewed each year”.

Mr Gove welcomed the intervention, adding: “Strong leadership from Russell Group universities, and engagement across the wider higher education sector, is critical to the future development of A-levels.”

Read the full article.

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