Following the introduction of Linear A Levels, students at Harrodian do not sit the new AS Level during their Lower Sixth Year (Year 12) and only sit full A Levels at the end of the Upper Sixth (Year 13). This decision was reached after careful consideration of the educational merits of the new AS qualification and a detailed review of the feedback provided by universities on the qualifications required by applicants for entry from September 2017. It has now been well supported by our subsequent experience of the university admissions process during the last three academic years.
Marks for the new AS Level make no contribution to a student’s A Level qualification and students taking a subject at A Level would need to be re-examined on AS material at the end of their Upper Sixth year. Universities primarily use predicted grades for A Levels when making offers of places. Given this, in our view, teaching time lost during the Lower Sixth year for examination preparation and study leave for the new AS Level has the potential to have a significantly negative impact on the quality of the overall A Level education we are able to provide to our students and the potential outcomes. Although students sitting the new AS Level would have an additional qualification, we believe this will be of little educational benefit for students who complete a full A Level course in the same subject.
The majority of Harrodian students study four A Level subjects during their Lower Sixth Year (Year 12) and most drop down to three subjects following internal summer examinations at the end of the Lower Sixth. In such situations, a student may be allowed to sit the new AS qualification in that dropped subject at the end of their Upper Sixth Year.
Harrodian students will therefore not have AS Level results in any subject when they apply to university.
In addition to continual assessment, we will require Harrodian students to sit internal examinations towards the end of the Summer Term of their Lower Sixth year. These examinations will test three terms of A Level teaching, and will be designed to be more academically demanding and rigorous than either the old or new AS Level, being designed to provide a good benchmark for predictions of final A Level performance. Harrodian students will apply to university with predicted grades based upon performance in these examinations (with the flexibility for adjustment to take into account individual circumstances or results in ongoing assessments as required, as was always possible in the past).
Harrodian believes that this approach to the Linear A Level will offer our students the optimal educational benefit. It will also ensure we provide an accurate prediction of final A Level performance from which universities are able to offer places and thus secure the best possible outcomes post 18+.