Author Topic: Which A level course to do? Opinions please  (Read 2226 times)

tiger76sun

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Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« on: May 05, 2011, 07:16:46 PM »
Hello again
Having just asked this helpful forum for some advice on Edexcel AS level I have now been told I can do which ever spec I choose. I have not taught A level for a few years so would love to here your views on which spec to do?
Thanks!

Victoria

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 07:37:15 PM »
I only have experience of AQA.  Although not perfect, I've been pretty happy with them.

It really depends on your school, your students, etc.  When the new specs were launched, I wanted one with a strong emphasis on fieldwork and where students had the opportunity to carry out their own individual fieldwork investigation.  (At the Edexcel 'launch meeting' - where two thirds of the meeting was spent trying to sell Edexcel as an exam board to us, rather than about the Geography - we were told that it was a great spec because you can "get away with just doing two days of fieldwork at AS and you don't need to do any at A2".)  I also wanted a balance between human and physical geography, a mix of traditional and more contemporary topics, and I was not sure that I liked the idea of multiple-choice questions in A Level exams.    I do sometimes feel that there's a bit too much content and get bogged down occasionally, but I felt that some of the other specs dealt with some topics at a rather superficial level, and lacked the rigour that I would expect from an A Level course.  That's purely my opinion though, and I know that other people are very happy with other boards/specs.

In terms of dealings with the exam boards/customer service, etc. I've heard very positive things and very negative things about every board (other than WJEC - I've heard a lot less about them than the other boards, but everything I have heard has been positive).

My advice would be to sit down as a department and identify the key features you want from a spec - and consult students too - and then see which one most closely matches your wants/needs.

Rob Chambers

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 08:02:19 PM »
I'm very happy with AQA - but only have experience of them in terms of the new spec.

swhitch

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 08:02:34 PM »
WJEC

Brilliant - although I must record an interest as an examiner with WJEC.

Great subject staff, good spec - interesting and manageable, current and relevant without being wacky or too trendy, fair and accessible exams.

One of our Y13 students recently stated that her friends who do another spec elsewhere are really jealous and wish that they were doing WJEC - you cannot get much better recommendation than the students themselves.

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Graham

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2011, 04:57:54 AM »

Agree with Victoria and Rob- only experience of AQA and don't do then individual coursework option, but pre-release instead (Paper 4b) at A2 level.
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Stephen Schwab

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2011, 08:05:06 AM »
I stand by Edexcel, its become much more teacher & student friendly under the guidance of their current subject officier. I like the breadth of the syllabus too and the progression in the assessment skills and content.
But i agree its whatever floats your departmental boat and what follows on best from your current GCSE option.
Elsewhere on the SLN pages Emma Johns has done a really helpful comparison of the syllabii.
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tiger76sun

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2011, 11:30:26 AM »
Thanks all for your comments - it really is invaluable to have the opinions of others! Just wondering where the comparison by Emma Johns is?

Stephen Schwab

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2011, 05:31:45 PM »
sorry tiger, Emmas comparison was of GCSE syllabii, i misremembered.
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ollismark

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2011, 09:07:03 AM »
I like AQA having changed from Edexcel and I am pleased with the decision.

LoopyLou

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Re: Which A level course to do? Opinions please
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2011, 01:59:10 PM »
I can recommend WJEC as a great A Level course ( I am an examiner though!).  Really like the wide range of answers that are acceptable and the question structure gives pupils to show what they know very well imo of course :)
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