2017 is an exciting time to be a student or teacher of A Level Music Technology. There is a new Edexcel specification that allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the technical and theoretical aspects of the content and a slimmed down coursework requirement.
This also marks a huge change in the A Level Music Technology qualification and beyond, with significant reform across the board. Ultimately, the biggest change is that AS level courses are now completely ‘decoupled’ from the overall A Level. This means that marks achieved in the AS course will not contribute towards the A level, and thus students only actually need to sit the A level in Year 13, with no requirement to be assessed by the exam board in Year 12.
Ultimately, this means there are decisions to make on a centre-wide basis; do schools and colleges enter candidates for both AS and A Level or spend the two years teaching the A Level course? I personally believe the two year A Level Music Technology course has the potential to allow much more flexibility to teach the appropriate skills and knowledge/understanding necessary for success in the qualification. For example, a centre could choose to deliver just the A Level course and devise their own course structure in the first year of sixth form. This could be carefully tailored to the learning needs of the students.
Alternatively, students in Year 12 could sit the AS and then the entire A Level in Year 13. Many AS and A level courses are designed to be co-teachable, and the Edexcel A Level Music Technology 2017 course is no exception. This means that the AS content is a subset of the overall A Level content and enables you to teach both Year 12 and Year 13 students in one group, with some stretch and challenge / extension for the Year 13 learners who have previously built up further understanding of the subject and are able to apply this in context.
Centres who choose to sit AS and A Level will need to sit all components for both the AS and A level; students sitting the A Level will need to sit A Level Components 1-4 in the academic year they will be sitting the examination.
Only time will tell which is the best solution; this, however, remains heavily dependent on the course and students involved.