A-level specifications being revised

LAHORE, June 14(Daily Times): Specifications for A-levels are being revised under the UK government's education review policy that is held every five years, Edexcel international development manager Alan Field told a seminar titled, 2008 and Beyond - getting started, at a hotel on Wednesday.

Field said that according to the new specifications, scheduled to be enforced by September 2008, the units/modules in the courses would be decreased from six to four.

Field said that all certificate-awarding bodies in the UK like Edexcel had submitted their proposals regarding changes in the specifications. He said internal assessment (course work) would be removed in many subjects adding that only one form of assessment per unit were expected to be introduced.

He said that tighter regulations would be applied to combat the growing tendency of plagiarism among students. He said a new A* grade, based on performance in A2 units/modules (second part of the course) was also being introduced. He said the subjects biology, chemistry, physics and music would retain six units.

Field said that the changed A-level specifications, sample assessments, material and mark schemes would be available on the Edexcel website by July. He added that the specifications and sample assessments would be provided to the centres by the end of the year so that teachers and students could prepare for the revised qualifications.

He asked the participants, representing several schools of the city registered with Edexcel, to contact the authority regularly over the internet to get the latest information regarding expected changes in the A-level qualifications. He said demand for education was growing and changing rapidly and at the same time was increasingly harnessing the technologies available to assist both learners and teachers to achieve more.

Field said further that the number of students appearing in O-level examinations was reducing by 10 percent every year in many countries because students were opting for more updated education like the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). He said no institute in the UK was offering O-level since it had been replaced by the IGCSE. He said Edexcel would also produce a revised IGCSE based upon the best features of the current IGCSE and O-level specifications.

Field said that last year, 750 students in the UK were disqualified from Edexcel examinations for malpractices, adding that 600 of them had been caught using cell phones during exams. He said Pakistani students were among the best students appearing in A-level exams across the world.

During the question-answer session some participants, representing various schools registered with Edexcel, expressed concern over the early departure of provincial education minister from the seminar, saying that their students were facing many problems regarding the conversion of marks of foreign qualifications like O and A levels. They said the minister should have waited to answer their queries.

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