Letter:Frustrated by modularisation

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article ("New examination system set to boost A-level pass rate", 5 August) attributing a rise in the A-level pass rate to the growth of modular A-levels overlooks one critical point; that is those candidates who study a mixture of modular and linear A-levels are placed at a disadvantage in their linear subjects.

I have taught A-level economics for many years. I have recently become increasingly frustrated by the development of modularisation. My subject is a linear A-level whereby the students are tested in the traditional way at the culmination of their course. They face a rigorous and valid examination on applied economics that consists of three papers.

Many of my students study economics in association with two modular courses. Not only is there a perception that the modular courses are in some sense "easier", the modular system creates significant disruption. Frequently my teaching is disrupted as students are preparing for their latest modules. Further disruption occurs when they then sit their modular examinations. As the modules for various subjects are not co-ordinated, the disruption is more than occasional and its disruptive nature quite marked.

Some analysis of results between modular and linear examinations is desperately needed. The claim that modular A-levels are causing grade inflation may hold some truth, but the overall picture is possibly far more complex.


Maidstone, Kent