Aitchison College, Lahore.
August 17, 2016

Cambridge A Levels Initiative

Dear Parents of H1 Students 2016

Re: Cambridge A Levels Initiative

The completion of A Levels over two years with final examinations at the end of H2 is an old fashioned system that changed in the UK a number of years ago. In short, it results in our boys having to undergo four examinations in each subject at the end of H2 (plus practicals in some subjects), and quite often confronting three or four examinations on the one day.

Being able to spread A Level assessment across two years with the introduction AS Levels at H1 will not only smooth the learning commitment, but focus boys in a way that ‘waiting’ for examinations over two years does not. The attitude of ‘putting off what can be done later’ is often the typical response under the existing system and was one of the key reasons why AS Levels were first introduced. Courses will be better balanced over the two years. The adoption of AS Levels will also enable teachers and students to deepen their inquiry and address issues in learning because there is extra time. Evidence demonstrates that the introduction of the AS Level into H1 improves most results in H2 and provides boys with an external verification of grades that exceed the value and credibility of current school predicted grades. This is clearly beneficial in US and UK university entrance. Equally, boys will know during their A Levels at what standard they are working in terms of CIE and address any deficiencies before their final A Level examinations.

Since my arrival midway through 2016, we have reformed A Levels by choice in number, strongly recommending three and not more than four A Levels in H2, and allowing boys to study to their strengths. The particular change I am outlining here had to wait and has the full backing of all Heads of Department, senior teachers, and the Head of Senior School. It has also required additional staffing. This system is common practice around the world, and now in Pakistan. Thus, what we are changing is both already recognized as better and is, most importantly, advantageous to students. All in all, I have no doubt students will welcome the initiative.

In making this decision, I point out that no boy will be disadvantaged. SATS and Mocks will be accommodated at optimum times. Naturally, CIE is fully supportive.


Kind regards,

Michael Thomson M.A., Dip. Ed., M.A.C.E