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AS and A2 Courses

Advanced Level

An overview September 2000 saw the introduction of a substantially revised post-16 curriculum, often known as ‘Curriculum 2000’. This constituted the most radical development in the post-16 curriculum since the introduction of GCE A levels in 1951. In 2008, the A levels underwent a further revision, with a reduced number of units in many subjects and changes to the coursework requirements. The new A levels awarded the A* grade for the first time in summer 2010. 8.1% of A level results nationally were A*, 17.9% within the independent sector and 23.1% at Godolphin and Latymer. One advantage of the current A level system is that it allows for a degree of specialisation through the Sixth Form, giving the experience of Sixth Form study in four or five subjects from the LVI before making your final decision as to which three or four you wish to continue to full Advanced Level. Universities have indicated that they expect the vast majority of candidates to have sat four AS levels and three A levels. Most universities did not use the A* as part of their conditional offers for undergraduate study in 2010; however, more are likely to make use of this grade for admissions in the future. Please check with the Careers Department for details of these. The school offers a range of subjects at AS and A2 level including Ancient History, Art, Biology, Classical Civilisation, Drama and Theatre Studies, Economics, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, German, Government and Politics, Greek, History (Modern and Early Modern), History of Art, Italian, Latin, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Music, Music Technology, Philosophy, Physical Education, Physics, Russian and Spanish. The Structure of AS and A2 The new A level consists of two parts; the AS (Advanced Subsidiary) which is normally taken in the Lower Sixth year and the A2 which is taken in the Upper Sixth year. Every subject is modular; most* with 2 units making up the AS and a further 2 units making up A2. The Lower Sixth The Upper Sixth

Unit 1

Unit 3

Unit 2

Unit 4

AS A2 = A level

* Note that a few subjects have retained a six unit structure, split as three units for AS and three units for A2.

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The two AS modules are of a level of difficulty approximately halfway between GCSE and A2.

A synoptic module forms a compulsory part of many A2 courses. This module assesses a girl’s ability to bring together the strands of both AS and A2 papers which she is studying.

Coursework, orals or practicals are a compulsory component in some subjects at AS level and sometimes at A2 level. However, the written coursework requirement has been removed in many subjects.

Examinations and Grading AS examinations AS examinations are taken in May and June of the LVI year. Girls are given study leave before the start of the examination session and return to school after the examinations have ended, usually mid-June. If girls do not do as well as they had hoped in the AS examinations, they are able to retake most units in January of the UVI year or in the summer of the UVI year. However, with the introduction of the A* grade at A2, girls should be selective with re-takes to avoid compromising their success at A2 level. Units can be taken more than twice and it is the highest mark that is counted. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that university applications will have been made before re-sit results are acheived. A2 examinations •

A2 examinations take place in June of the UVI year. Again, girls are given study leave before the examination session begins.

Grading • • • •

AS and A2 are each worth 50% of the total A level. A unit is generally worth between 90 – 120 marks and most subjects have two units at each level. The two units at AS level total 200 and the two units at A2 level total 200; this makes a total of 400 marks. Some subject have three units at each level with a total of 600 for the full A level.

In order to gain an A* grade, a student must attain an A grade overall in her subject and score an aggregate of 90% in the A2 units.

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The EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) From 2010, the AQA Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) has become an integral part of the LVI curriculum for girls choosing the A-level route. It consists of a long-term project that students complete over a year and is highly valued by Higher Education institutions. Extended Projects can be on a wide range of exciting topics. Students may choose a topic related to the subjects they are already studying, a topic that combines these subjects, or something completely unrelated to school subjects. Students will often want to explore an area that is directly connected to the Higher Education course they are applying for. Extended Projects typically involve a 5000 words essay based on students’ own research and investigation. However, students can decide instead to make films, music, artefacts, models, conduct experiments or solve mathematical problems. The projects are student-led and, although students are guided by supervisors, they are encouraged to work as independently as possible. Students will gain research, organisational and time-management skills, which will be invaluable on degree courses. The knowledge and skills gained through the process are likely to be very helpful in interviews.

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IB Diploma Programme The IB is a programme of study at Sixth Form level, which combines breadth and depth in a holistic curriculum. All students study 6 subjects, at least 5 of which must be from defined subject groups, the sixth subject being a creative subject or an elective. Students study 3 of their subjects at Higher Level and 3 at Standard Level. In addition, all IB Diploma students undertake an Extended Essay, a course on the Theory of Knowledge (TOK), and a combined extra curricular programme of Creativity, Action & Service (CAS). IB Subject Groups Group 1

Language A (Mother Tongue)

English

Group 2

Language B (2nd Language) and Classical Languages

French B, German B, Italian B, Russian B, Spanish B, Latin, Greek

Group 3

Individuals & Societies

History, Economics, Philosophy, Geography, History of Art*

Group 4

Experimental Sciences

Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Group 5

Mathematics

Maths HL, Maths SL, Maths Studies

Creative Arts & Electives

Theatre Arts,Visual Arts, Music or a second choice from Groups 2,3 or 4

Group 6

* NB History of Art is only available at standard level Grading The IB Diploma course is assessed through a variety of coursework elements in conjunction with a final examination. Each subject is graded on a 1-7 scale, with 7 representing the highest mark. The central areas of the Extended Essay and the Theory of Knowledge are assessed through a matrix of core points, with 3 points representing the maximum possible achievement. The overall Diploma score is calculated as follows: 6 subjects each scoring 1-7 points

possible total = 42 pts

TOK & Extended Essay

core points = 3 pts

Total possible Diploma score

= 45 pts

A total of 24 pts is required to pass the IB Diploma. For information on university offers, please see the "Expected AL/AS and IB requirements" section of this handbook.

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The Extended Essay All IB Diploma students must complete an individual 4,000 word research essay based on a topic of their choice from within one of the IB academic subjects. The essay is supervised by a suitably qualified member of the academic staff and is completed in the upper sixth year. Assessment is conducted by an external examiner. Like the Extended Project completed by A level students, the Extended Essay is highly valued by universities and students develop a wide range of excellent research skills. Theory of Knowledge (TOK) The TOK course is designed to introduce girls to the problems of knowledge and it encourages them to question how we gain knowledge, what we accept as knowledge and which means we employ to discern these differences. As well as developing a faculty for critical thinking, the course encourages the girls to see the interconnectedness of subjects and areas of knowledge in the global society. The course is assessed through a combination of a presentation, which is internally marked and an essay, which is externally marked. Both TOK and the Extended Essay are assessed on an A-E scale. The resulting matrix of grades from the two components leads to the award of a maximum 3 bonus points.

Extended Essay

Theory of Knowledge A

B

C

D

E

A

3

3

2

2

1

B

3

2

1

1

0

C

2

1

1

0

0

D

2

1

0

0

0

E

1

0

0

0

0

*A girl who scores fewer than 28 points overall and scores ‘E’ for either the Extended Essay or the Theory of Knowledge will fail the IB Diploma. Creativity, Action & Service (CAS) All IB Diploma students are required to undertake a CAS programme during their two years of study. Girls should be engaged in a variety of regular commitments and activities, which represent the 3 key areas of CAS: Creativity, Action and Service. Girls are expected to spend 3-4 hours a week on their CAS programme and although they will arrange the activities themselves, they will be guided and supervised by the CAS Coordinator. It is expected that the girls keep a diary of their activities and they should spend a minimum of 150 hours on their CAS programme over the two years. Girls will be encouraged to develop their personal creative interests, to keep themselves physically active and fit and to help others both in their immediate environment and in the wider community.

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