An A Level in what???  

helga_hansen 50F
3122 posts
8/23/2006 8:38 am

Last Read:
4/4/2007 1:55 am

An A Level in what???

Working in higher education, I'm only too aware of just how busy universities are around about now, what with clearing, now that the A Level results have been released in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Congratulations to all those students who passed their A Levels, and commiserations to those who either failed, or failed to get the grades they needed.

There has been much talk in the press (there always is at this time of year) about just how easy A Levels are becoming. This is in part due to the fact that so many students are getting better grades in their A Levels. Master Hansen's school had a 97% pass rate for their A Level students, and the numbers have increased in students who sat for Physics and Maths.

This is where I start getting a little worked up....

Can someone tell a foreign bird, who did an International Baccalaureate in Natural Sciences (my subjects included Maths, Science, Biology and Accountancy) what the hell an A Level in General Studies is all about?!?!?

I've done a little investigating, and it seems to me to be a glorified A Level in general knowledge... the sort of thing that will help in a pub quiz! Is it any small wonder then, that A Level results are getting better, if half the student population is doing an A Level in General Studies???

Master Hansen has been told that there is no way he is being allowed to do General Studies... not unless he has 6 other sensible A Level subjects first. And no, I'm not a pushy parent... I am just aware of my son's capabilities!!

Love, hugs and kisses from ♥♥HH♥♥

rm_FreeLove999 47F
16127 posts
8/23/2006 8:46 am

have no idea about "general studies", but snap on your matric subjects ... those are exactly the same as mine

[blog freelove999]

buddhamike 107M
7006 posts
8/23/2006 9:03 am

The dumbing down of material in the classroom is a growing world wide phenomenon. It's caused in part by the self esteem movement in education, beginning in the early 70's. It's also in part a money thing. More people continue their study, resulting in more tuition money for the schools. (after all, the business model is very popular in many schools today) At a school where I did my student teaching more than half of the students were on the "honor role". (again as a result of easy grades) Bottom line is we are creating entire generations of students who feel good about being borderline illiterate.

phoenix639 50F

8/23/2006 9:22 am

I got offered to do general studies when i went back to college to do more alevels a few years back.

What a load od tosh is it.

Its been created (many tutors disagree with it) just to try & get exam results higher for university entrances.

A levels arent that easy though. I found my English A level hard at times.

I admire anyone taking physics & maths as i have no grasp on that.

But got an A in pyschology with ease & got accepted for critical criminology but couldnt affors to continue to study.

Now ive lost interest.

laceylady1000 53M/57F
185 posts
8/23/2006 10:19 am

Ooops....I did General Studies at A Level over 25 years ago so its not a recent phenomena.
I did it as I thought it would be a breeze as it was 2x 3 hours papers full of MULTIPLE CHOICE questions!!There was nothing to revise so I just appeared at the allotted time and ticked.....

I did pass it so had 4 A levels to my name....but I felt a bit of a fraud!

economickrisis 56M

8/25/2006 2:09 am

I get confused between A level and O level in the British system.

General Studies in most education systems seem to be designed for the lowest common denominator and are chosen by average students who wish to boost their average.

Hold the line and hopefully MH will do the more challenging academic subjects and will benefit from them.

Ive always regarded education as the one great thing that I can provide for my kids that noone can ever take away from them.

Bravo mum

helga_hansen replies on 8/25/2006 2:28 am:
O Levels no longer exist, Mick. They have been replaced by GCSEs which students take when they're 16. It's at this stage that many students decide that sticking it out for another two years is not for them, and they quit school... a bit of a waste, I think. Pity this country doesn't have a system of apprenticeships, like some others, as I know and appreciate that the life of academia is not for everyone. This country has a dire shortage of tradesmen, as everyone is so obsessed with getting a degree in "media studies" so they can go in Public Relations... the media has got a lot to answer for these days!!!

rm_byron1724 54M
214 posts
8/25/2006 4:32 am

General Studies is a kind of add-on A Level in addition to your three main subjects. Its not a new thing, I did mine 24 years ago. I like to think of it as a way of improving the pupils overall knowledge of the world, rather than just knowing things about biology, physics, etc.

Stor Kram xxx

laceylady1000 53M/57F
185 posts
8/25/2006 2:28 pm

I just discovered another one-apparantly you can now get an A level in 'Critical Thinking'.......any ideas what that could be?

helga_hansen replies on 8/26/2006 12:35 am:
Lacey... I have done a little investigating, and have found the following information. As it happens, I think this would be a good A Level to have, in addition to other worth-while subjects, and not simply replacing them. My son has an interest in the Sciences, so I could see him doing this as well as the other subjects I feel he would be capable of taking!!!

Critical Thinking is not the study of a specific subject, but aims to develop skills which are fully transferable to other AS and A level subjects, and especially to everyday life.

Students following this course will spend most of their time learning to analyse arguments and messages which are trying to tell us what to think and believe. Since so many of our ideas are based on what other people tell us, in writing, on TV or by word of mouth, the critical thinker needs to see through the phoney arguments and identify examples of convincing reasoning.

Students from all disciplines can study Critical Thinking. It fits well with humanities subjects such as History, Law and Sociology, but may also appeal to students who are taking mainly Science courses or more practical courses such as Art, Media Studies and Music.

This subject is available as an AS level option to second year students only. It will be of particular interest to those who have dropped a subject at the end of their first year and are looking to add an extra subject to their portfolio. It is taught as a reduced timetable option (1½ hours per week) and has a very low level of course content as it is primarily skills based, and so may appeal to those students who do not wish to overburden themselves with content-heavy additions to their timetables.

Students begin by studying the language of reasoning, as distinct from quarrelling, explaining or reporting. You will learn to recognise and evaluate different kinds of reasoning, and the hidden assumptions behind the messages. You will be encouraged to present your own arguments and respond to objections and opposing views.

Hope this goes some way to answering your question!!


laceylady1000 53M/57F
185 posts
8/26/2006 9:33 am

lol-thanks for that.I think there are some bloggers and posters who could do with studying that then.....!

TheQuietGuy2005 55M
2386 posts
8/28/2006 8:03 am

Helga ... I did an 'A'-level in General Studies 20-something years ago too! We were always told that the version from this particular examinations board was more testing than most. Certainly, it wasn't purely checking the boxes and it did cover skills (such as spatial reasoning, analysis and logic) far more than it did general knowledge. But I would say that wouldn't I?

In any case, no employer would have known that my A-level was supposedly any better than the General Studies A-level that Joe Bloggs got from Multiple-Choice Exam Board.

Still, I also got A-levels in Pure Maths & Stats, French and Economics. Does that sound any better?

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