06 August 2010
The letters on A Level reform (Welcome the new A-level, TES 30 July) illustrated perfectly the range of views on the subject from both teachers and Higher Education. The natural conclusion to draw from the debate is that different students require different courses and different ways of being examined in those courses.
The UK arm of Cambridge Assessment (OCR) designs and examines modular courses while our international arm (CIE) designs and examines linear courses, such as international A Levels and the Cambridge Pre-U, and makes them available in the UK. The rationale behind the existence of both of these approaches relies on our research into modular and linear exams, the latest report covered in TES 16 July and available in full on our website. It also stems from our 150 years' experience as Cambridge University's exams group which tells us that one size cannot fit all.
Although the Secretary of State has expressed a preference for linear A Levels, he has also stated many times that he does not believe that the Government should be in the business of designing qualifications and that HE should play a leading role in the design of qualifications used primarily for entry to it. The Coalition Government is clearly committed to choice in education (see the Academies Act) and one would expect it to commit to choice in this field as well.
Group Chief Executive
And here's the letter as printed in the TES, 6 August 2010