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Modular A-levels – who are the winners and losers? A comparison of lower-sixth and upper-sixth students' performance in linear and modular A-level physics examinations

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With the growth of modular assessment at A-level and the proposed introduction of the Advanced Subsidiary level, students, teachers and those responsible for standards in examinations must assess the impact of a number of factors on performance. This study focuses on the effects of maturity and gender, and highlights their possible influence on performance at A-level. The study compares the performance of two groups of students, using data gathered from the examination scripts of lower-sixth and upper-sixth candidates in A-level physics. The candidates were assessed while at different stages in their course, using the same examination questions. Pupils completing the second year of the course had a higher level of attainment than those taking the examination during the first year of study. Similar differences between upper-sixth and lower-sixth pupils were observed in both boys and girls; however, there is some evidence which may suggest that boys are more likely than girls to take advantage of some of the features of modular examinations.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-02-01

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