Research and analysis

AS and A level decoupling

Implications for the maintenance of AS standards.


AS and A level decoupling: implications for the maintenance of AS standards

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AS and A levels in England have recently been reformed following concerns raised by key stakeholders that they were not adequately preparing students for degree level study, as is considered to be their primary purpose. The modular nature and content of A levels, along with the opportunity to resit units, were seen to be the main contributing factors to students not developing the deep understanding and skills needed for university study (Higton et al., 2012).

In order to address these concerns, a number of changes were made to AS and A levels, including changes to the structure of these qualifications. Reformed AS and A levels are now standalone linear qualifications and the AS no longer counts towards the A level. These structural changes reflect the government’s expectations for reformed AS and A levels. Ofqual takes the view that decisions about qualification structure are curriculum policy decisions for Government, provided they do not affect our ability to meet our objectives.

Published 5 July 2018