Leader: Think again on A level

August 25, 2006

Now that the dust has settled on this summer's A-level results it becomes even more obvious that the whole system is in need of reform. The beginning of a flight to the International Baccalaureate (IB), encouraged by over-generous tariff scores for university entrance, has been followed this week by Cambridge University's list of no fewer than 20 A levels that provide a "less effective preparation" for its degrees. General studies and critical thinking did not even feature among this group, as they would not be accepted at all for a conditional offer.

With grade inflation prompting a move to the use of individual module scores and an A* grade on the horizon, the time has surely come to revisit the issues in the Tomlinson report. Ruth Kelly, as Education Secretary, was understandably reluctant to undermine the "gold standard" and was not convinced by the merits of an overarching diploma. But Alan Johnson, her successor, has more self-confidence and must see that the gold standard is already undermined. Without some action, the system will fracture, with many more academic schools switching to the IB and A levels dividing even more obviously into two tiers.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 10 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Business Development Officer YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Linguistics YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Associate Professor/Professor EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

Brexit, EU referendum

Joanna Williams voted Leave, and has been left disappointed by the academy’s reaction to the EU referendum result

Elly Walton illustration (7 July 2016)

Researchers in the liberal arts seem to have made it their mission to communicate in the most obscure fashion, says Zachary Foster

Daniel Mitchell illustration (14 July 2016)

Frank Furedi says the mournful mood on campus and the disparagement and silencing of Leave supporters betray an isolated scholarly class

Michael Parkin illustration (7 July 2016)

Rising immigration-related costs and lack of employer support send an unwelcoming message to international staff, says Jason Danely

Huge eyes peering through door windows

Some scholars claim plans are more about improving staff visibility to students than brightening corridors