An overhaul of A-levels in the works?

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It is interesting that there is a call to review or overhaul the A-level system as the current system is considered to be too narrow or specialized.

I think it is fair to say that it is narrow or specialized, with the majority of students taking only three subjects in their final two years of secondary school and being assessed almost exclusively through exams only.

Amid concerns over fairness and possible bias virtually all aspects of coursework have been severely curtailed or phased out altogether. The current senior secondary system, and the current university system, seems to be heavily focused on vocational pathways.  You take certain subjects at A-level which lead to a narrow range of possibilities at undergraduate level and this prepares you for a certain job.

However there are concerns that the employment prospects of the future will be more fluid and less well established as pathways than in the past. Instead, it makes sense for students to be equipped with broad skills which can be adapted into different study and workplace situations. This seems important, given that many believe about 40% of jobs as we know them will be taken over by some form of AI in the future. Being able to use a variety of skills to adapt and respond creatively to the market that exists in the future does seem sensible.

This suggests our education system, including the A-levels, designed for a very different time, is not the right model to prepare students for the likely job and study environments of the future. However, since that future is unknown at present, making radical changes to the education system now does not guarantee a system that will be fit for the purpose in the future. I think education systems always lag when great changes are forecast. Perhaps, instead of expecting an education system to be all things for all people, other methods of helping students to become adaptable, flexible individuals need to be considered.

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