The assessment of A level qualifications is in a process of transition from modular to linear assessments as part of government led reforms. Modular assessment involves students being formally assessed at the end of Year 12 (on the Year 12 course content) and again at the end of Year 13 (on the Year 13 course content). Both these assessments count, 50% each, towards the student’s final A level qualification.
Linear assessment involves the students being formally assessed at the end of Year 13 on all the content across Year 12 and Year 13. Students will sit formal assessment at the end of Year 12 but the results in these assessments do not count towards the overall qualification.
Eventually all subjects will be assessed using a linear approach but currently there are some modular and some linear subjects. Below shows the timeline for subjects moving to linear assessment.
What does this mean for students?
Students are strongly encouraged to start studying 4 A levels in Year 12. During the A level reform transition period, students may well be studying a mixture of
modular and linear qualifications. Students will then take a formal assessment at the end of Year 12 for all 4 subjects. In modular subjects, the results will make up 50% of the A level qualification at the end of Year 13. In linear subjects, the result will not count towards the A level qualification at the end of Year 13.
Why do students sit formal exams at the end of Year 12 if the results do not contribute towards their A level qualification?
• At the end of Year 12 students move to studying just 3 subjects rather than 4. The results of the Year 12 formal assessments help students to make an informed choice about which 3 subjects to progress forward with into Year 13.
• By sitting a formal assessment at the end of Year 12, students attain an AS level qualification in the subject they are not studying into Year 13. An AS level qualification is equivalent to half an A level and is worth UCAS points when applying to university.
• In Year 13, students will be completing university applications. As part of this process, universities require predicted A level grades. The students’ Year 12 results are used as basis for predicted grades.
• With the move towards linear assessment, it is more important than ever that students are confident to perform at their best in examinations. Having this exam experience at the end of Year 12 helps students in their exam preparations for the end of Year 13.