AS-levels standards set too high, say teachers

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The Independent Online

The Government's controversial AS-level reforms have pushed sixth-formers into the wrong courses and overloaded them with an unreasonable volume of work, according to a survey of teachers published yesterday.

The Government's controversial AS-level reforms have pushed sixth-formers into the wrong courses and overloaded them with an unreasonable volume of work, according to a survey of teachers published yesterday.

More than eight out of 10 teachers believe the exams, which were taken for the first time this summer, were set at too high a standard for first-year sixth-formers, the survey of more than 320 teachers found.

Just under 80 per cent of staff told researchers the new exams had demanded more than students could reasonably cope with. Three quarters argued that Government pressure on sixth-formers to broaden their studies had pushed many pupils' into unsuitable courses.

Half of teachers also warned the new exams have damaged pupils' morale, the research, commissioned by the National Union of Teachers, found. More than 40 per cent of teachers believe their students did badly, or very badly, during the first year of their A-level courses.

John Bangs, the union's head of education, said: "Overall there has been a negative reaction to the reforms. The majority of teachers, 72.6 per cent, do not believe that AS-levels have led to greater breadth of study as there is a temptation to skim through the content to get through the syllabus."

Teachers did not believe they had been adequately prepared to teach the new courses, the study found.

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