A-levels to be overhauled to combat grade inflation

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The Independent Online

A-Levels are set to be radically overhauled in response to years of grade inflation, the head of the exam watchdog has signalled.

Glenys Stacey, chief executive of Ofqual, suggested a return to traditional A-level courses with a single exam at the end of two years of study.

Two-part A-Levels, where students take exams at intervals throughout courses, are not working, she said in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph. "There is a strong a persistent view that the modular approach to A-levels is not achieving what it needs to; that the parts don't add up to the whole," Ms Stacey said.

She blamed examiners for year-on-year grade inflation over more than a decade, which she said was "impossible to justify" and had undermined confidence in the value of GCSEs and A-levels.

"We really care about standards and we are doing something about them," she said.

Ofqual is due to publish its proposals in the summer to move away from "modular" A-levels.

It is now thought that "good quality" multiple choice questions could feature more prominently in reformed exams.

The proposals could also signal a possible move towards compulsory English and maths for sixth-form students.

Ms Stacey was appointed last year by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove. In a letter to Mr Gove about the new A-level developments on 3 April, she said: "We don't want to regulate where there is no need to do so. We will strip back the regulatory requirements for A-levels, and intervene only where we need to, to make sure standards are right."