A Levels v Diplomas
Are the new Diplomas going to have the same currency as existing qulaifications ? - Hannah Packwood investigates
I’m ready to revise for my first AS level exams, cramming three months work into three hours, but wait…, a headline catches my eye, “Diplomas to replace A Levels”. Shovelling papers to one side as if no longer relevant I read on.
Diplomas, a new type of qualification that bridge the divide between academic and vocational learning, are to be introduced next year in a limited range of subjects. The success of diplomas will depend on how they are recognised by employers and universities. If universities continue to use A level results for admissions then the new qualifications will be less attractive to schools and pupils.
Diplomas, a new type of qualification that bridge the divide between academic and vocational learning
I know loads of people who would be willing to drop A levels now if they felt they could achieve the same secure future with a diploma, especially if they were based on continuous assessment and not examination. At the moment A levels are highly recognised by universities and employers and thus anything else tends to be regarded with suspicion. However, given the opportunity, I’m sure many young people would jump at the chance to try the new diploma.
At the moment A levels are highly recognised by universities
From 2008 the subjects offered as diplomas will be construction, creative and media, engineering, I.T. and Society health and development, with further subjects being introduced in 2010. They are intended to be equivalent to GCSE’s and A levels and take two years to complete. The new diplomas will offer a broad range of skills that can be applied to many jobs. They will be offered at different levels i.e. level 1 will compare to 4/5 GCSE’s, level 2 to 5/6 GCSE’s and level 3 to three A levels. They are intended to bridge the gap between vocational and academic subjects to allow more people to take apprenticeships and university courses. However, for the foreseeable future A levels will still lead the field and will continue to run alongside any new qualifications.
For now, I must un-crumple my notes and put my nose firmly back to the grindstone. There are no other options…at least not yet anyway!
For more information about the new Diplomas visit http://yp.direct.gov.uk/diplomas
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) www.qca.org.uk explain more about UK qualifications.
You can get a better overview of education in the UK by visiting Direct Gov at www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning