Education reforms could spell end of AS levels

Independent schools in Britain will scrap the AS level exam, should divisive plans to reform the schools system be passed by education secretary Michael Gove.

320 leading independent schools were polled, with one in seven believing that should reform go ahead in 2015, the traditional AS level sat by 16-17 year olds will still be useful.

The plans propose that the AS level will be sat at the end of sixth form as opposed to half way through – meaning they will not be taken into consideration by higher education establishments in their assessment process. Currently, AS levels are sat halfway through sixth form, with establishments such as Cambridge University arguing that they provide key evidence of an applicant’s sixth form performance.

The survey was conducted by the Independent Schools Association, whose chairman Jim Stearns said: “Very few schools, state or private, have the resources to offer full A-level courses as well as separate AS levels in most subjects. Universities recognise this and most won’t require applicants to have sat additional AS levels.”

Additionally, the Independent School Association’s chief executive Neil Roskilly said: “The likely result is that AS levels will largely disappear, which is a great shame. Universities find the current AS levels extremely useful as they provided a real measure of a student’s ability after one year of study.”

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