A Level reform: research

A Level reform: research

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Our research findings, together with the findings from our UK exam board OCR’s extensive subject-based forums, provide a firm evidence base to design the next generation of A Levels to the standards expected by HE.

The three executive summaries featured here add to a decade of discussion around the quality of post-16 syllabuses and their examinations - known in the UK primarily as A Levels.

The research findings report on:

  • A questionnaire survey of 633 university lecturers on the impacts of qualifications for 16 to 19 year olds on higher education; 
  • Focus groups on lecturers’ views about the effectiveness of curricula for 16 to 19 year olds as preparation for university; 
  • A literature review on pedagogical differences between A Level and university. 

These three strands of research form part of a wider programme which extends over several years. Systematic research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, have been used to ensure the rigour of the findings. This work is an important means of restoring and strengthening links with HE by investigating perceptions of HE lecturers and by identifying the key differences in pedagogy reported in the educational literature.

Cambridge Assessment is committed to publishing in peer-reviewed journals and, to avoid compromising that commitment, the executive summaries are detailed here but the full reports from these studies are not available for downloading. Should you wish to request copies for yourself, with all rights reserved and no permissions to publish, please email our Group Public Affairs unit and we will be happy to send them to you.

The Research Division sets out to provide a sound evidence base to underpin our policy prescriptions as well as future qualification design. It is clear that this research will be of crucial importance to those designing new A Levels under the new regime.

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