AS-level exam entries plunge by 42% after government reforms

The number of AS-levels entries has plunged as the effect of the government’s A-level overhaul starts to show.

Ofqual has today published the summer 2017 GCSE and A-level entry figures.

They show the overall entries for AS subjects fell by 42 per cent, from 1,143,950 in 2016, to 660,200 this year.

The Ofqual report stated that this year’s drastic drop “continues a trend” from last year – the first where new reformed AS subjects no longer count towards a student’s final A-level grade.

However the drop last year was only 14 per cent. Ofqual stated the fall was down to the government’s policy reforms.

Schools Week has previously revealed how decoupling AS has caused huge problems for univeristies. The University of Cambridge, for example, was “forced” to reintroduce entry tests  because it could no longer use AS scores to offer places.

Engineering had the biggest drop (although only had a small number of entries), falling from 450 in 2016, to 100 this year (78 per cent).

The next largest fall was for performing/expressive arts, where numbers dropped from 3,650 in 2016, to 900 this year (75 per cent).

Drama numbers also dropped dramatically, from 14,100 in 2016, to 4,950 in 2017 (a fall of 65 per cent).

Meanwhile entries for all A-level subjects remained broadly stable, up by one per cent from 785,900 in 2016, to 786,050 this year.

The most notable rises were in science, computing and political studies. The biggest decreases were in critical thinking, general studies and ICT (see table below).

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