One of Britain's largest examination boards has proposed a single post-16 qualifications system, the backbone of which would be reformed A and AS exams.
The Northern Examinations and Assessment Board launched a consulation on its proposals last week in order to contribute to Sir Ron Dearing's review of the 16-19 qualifications framework.
The reformed A and AS exams would embody both academic and vocational subjects and permit both modular and linear assessment routes.
The board said: "Modular courses, with their short-term goals, have been very successful in motivating students, from the most able to those who would have struggled to complete a traditional A-level course."
Students would be assessed on a tariff system in which individual exams were given a point score, with the final qualification based on the total points scored. A minimum number of points would be needed for admittance to higher education. Such a system would allow admissions tutors to specify points required in individual subjects to ensure the required depth of study needed for a degree, it argues.
The current AS exam would be redefined as a one-year "subsidary" qualification, which is half the length of A level but at a lower level. The board says that this would provide a staged progression from GCSE to A level.