Education Secretary Michael Gove has been accused of “change for the sake of change” over his plans to reform A level exams.
In a letter to the Ofqual, Mr Gove said from 2015 he wants students to take exams at the end of two-year courses and AS levels will become a stand-alone exam.
“I believe that the primary purpose of A levels is to prepare students for degree-level study,” he said.
“Current A levels do not always provide the solid foundation that students need to prepare them for degree-level study and for vocational education.
“The modular nature of the qualification and repeated assessment windows have contributed to many students not developing deep understanding or the necessary skills to make connections between topics.”
Voice General Secretary Deborah Lawson said:
“This is yet more political interference in the education system from an Education Secretary intent on change for the sake of change.
“If Wales and Northern Ireland decide not to follow the same path, there will be further fragmentation of the UK’s exam system, causing confusion for universities and employers.
“Mr Gove states that: ‘the primary purpose of A levels is to prepare students for degree-level study’. However, university entrance is not the sole function of A levels.
“They have also become a benchmark of a level of education that employers require.”
Ms Lawson said plans to allow universities to have “sole oversight” of A levels excludes businesses, who “must be involved in drawing up new syllabuses and qualifications where relevant, so they meet the needs of the workplace”.
“Voice questions whether universities have the appetite or capacity to supervise A levels – particularly leading research institutions where time and resources are already under considerable pressure,” she said.
Mr Gove the first new A levels in facilitating subjects will be developed in time for Ofqual to accredit them so that they are ready for first teaching in September 2015.