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An investigation on the impact of GCSE modularisation on A level uptake and performance

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Vidal Rodeiro, Carmen 


The modularisation of GCSEs has caused considerable controversy since its introduction. Firstly, there are those who believe that modular assessment could lead to lack of coherence and fragmentation of learning as students have little time for reflection, skill development and knowledge consolidation; secondly, the increased assessment load means students could spend more time revising for the modular exams, rather than simply benefiting from the learning experience; and thirdly, there is the view that re-sitting modules may be lowering examination standards with 'teaching to the test' time heightened at the expense of deeper learning. Based on the above issues, teachers expressed concerns about modular students being less well equipped for the transition from GCSE to further study (e.g., A levels) than their linear counterparts. This study set out to investigate whether modular courses are good preparation for further study. The focus was on the impact of the GCSE assessment route on the uptake and performance in three A levels: English, mathematics and ICT.



Assessment design, GCSE/IGCSE, A Level/AS Level

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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