Presentation on theme: "Reviewing the new A level specifications Bob Digby Community Geographer, Geographical Association."— Presentation transcript:
Reviewing the new A level specifications Bob Digby Community Geographer, Geographical Association
Key changes –Revisions to A levels for the first time since 2000 –More than just new specifications – an expression of the subject for the next few years –Time scale: first teaching from 2008, first AS/A2 awards in 2009/2010 –Compliance with QCA subject criteria e.g. stretch and challenge and a new A* award. –One specification allowed per Board; so 4 available in England and Wales instead of the previous 7. –4 modules not 6; can be taken any time or as a linear qualification. –The death of coursework.
Questions –Will change actually reduce the burden of assessment? Or will the Boards shoe-horn 6 modules content into 4? –Will the removal of coursework impact upon the number of candidates in Geography? –What happens to fieldwork in schools? Can the exam boards preserve fieldwork as an integral part of Geography? –We now have a generation of exam-wise 16-18 year-olds – but are they better geographers?
Has Geography had a facelift in the new specifications? Eleanor Rawling s lecture at the 2005 GA conference highlighted ten concerns Forces of change & public concerns about e.g. globalisation, global warming Spatial awareness of e.g. the new Europe Scale & scale linkage – inter-connectedness Environmental Interaction – footprints and management Technology – opportunities for GIS Greater curriculum flexibility, choice & freedom needed Special contribution to global concepts e.g. sustainability Geographical enquiry – active questioning approach, less didactic Significant changes in university geography (cultural, ethnographic, place ….) 14-19 awarding bodies have tended to standardise content … fear that innovation will lose customers anxious to play safe & maintain high grades
How should the subject be updated? Simon Oakes research into the School-HEI Gap (2006) highlights several issues including: Human geography in school out of step Theory levels are poor (compare Sociology) Learning tends to be case-study based, not theoretical - focused on facts, not thinking Little critical questioning of concepts at A level- e.g. of sustainability
The new specifications Content of AS versus A2 Assessment type at AS and A2 Styles and Flexibility of assessment Assessment load Wheres the fieldwork? Guidance for teachers? How fresh or up-to-date? How much choice?