Maths A-degree adjustments delayed to permit much more time to put together

The government is to delay changes to A-degree mathematics and more mathematics amid concerns that pupils will not be sufficiently effectively ready for the new examination.

The modifications will be put back a year and teaching will now commence in 2017, following tips from the exams regulator Ofqual. The delay was confirmed in a letter from the school reform minister, Nick Gibb, to Ofqual’s chief regulator, Glenys Stacey.

Colleges are struggling to get to grips with planned radical changes to A-levels. From subsequent year AS-ranges are getting separated from A-levels, which will grow to be two-12 months programs with grades determined by a final examination.

The changes are part of the government’s drive to make the exams method far more rigorous. But some universities have stated they want colleges to proceed with AS-ranges. Cambridge University has written to colleges asking them to stick with AS-amounts, saying they are essential to the university assortment procedure.

The shadow schooling secretary, Tristram Hunt, has mentioned Labour will not pursue the government’s policy on decoupling, causing more confusion, and desires the new AS- and A-levels to be delayed across the board till 2017. He has known as on the long lasting secretary at the Department for Schooling to publish to the heads of colleges and schools explaining the alterations in buy to tackle what he says is widespread confusion.

Ofqual stated the maths delay meant students on the new programs would advantage from having taken new maths GCSEs being introduced in 2015, and would consequently be much better ready. The additional year will also permit a lot more time for colleges to put together for teaching the new AS- and A levels.

Gibb explained in his letter to Ofqual: “While there is a transitional phase for all reformed subjects, you have advised that for mathematics the gap amongst the existing GCSE and the new A-level is specifically substantial. Your concern is that the current GCSE does not have the very same constructing blocks as the new GCSE to prepare students for the mathematical dilemma-solving content material in the new A-degree. I know your view is supported by Alcab (A-level Content material Advisory Board) and by a lot of in the mathematics community.

“I am content material to accept your recommendation to defer first teaching of the new mathematics and further mathematics A/AS-ranges until September 2017. I have taken this determination to give mathematics students the very best opportunity to benefit from the new qualifications at GCSE and A-degree, and in specific recognition of the importance of mathematics as a route to a broad assortment of useful higher schooling programs.”

It stays to be noticed whether or not there will be delays to the introduction of new A- and AS-levels in other subjects. In a speech last month to the Westminster Schooling Forum about A-level reform, Stacey said: “We are maintaining to the timetable for reform, but not slavishly. It is the top quality of the qualification and the educational outcomes that matter over all.”

She alluded to the confusion surround the decoupling of AS- and A-ranges. “Should any potential government wish to recouple, it can be completed, albeit the timing of the election is awkward, as new decoupled A- and AS-levels will be in colleges ready for first educating in September 2015.”

Russell Hobby, common secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, welcomed the delay in introducing the new maths exams. He explained: “It requires a lengthy time for colleges to prepare for a new examination correctly. This includes alterations to educating programmes, resources and even staffing. Schools need a lot of time if they are to do proper by pupils, so we welcome this delay. There are few far more important topics to get proper.”

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