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Exam changes left students tired.

AS-level students may have been too tired to do their best because of government changes in the way the exams were taken this year, it emerged today.

Former chief schools inspector Mike Tomlinson, who checked AS and A-levels were properly graded this year following the 2002 debacle, said his monitoring of this summer's process uncovered evidence of "unevenness of performance".

On Thursday he said candidates could be confident the exam boards had stuck to the new rules introduced in the wake of the fiasco, in advance of issuing his full report on the trustworthiness of the grading process. This was published today and said: "The quality of work in AS papers, and in some cases the unevenness of performance across the paper, was noted.

"Some awarders judged that the limited time available in Year 12 (lower sixth form) to study for AS examinations could be the cause of some answers being limited in one or more ways.

"Others attributed this effect to result from the change to examining all AS units in a subject in one session."

Sixth-formers sat the new version of AS-Levels, part of the A-Level introduced under Curriculum 2000, in summer 2001.

A chorus of complaint about timetable clashes and exam overload soon went up from schools, pupils and parents.

Mr Tomlinson said: "The changed system, which means having all the papers for a single AS exam on the same day, meant very heavy loads for some students.

"There was evidence that students were getting tired and their performance faded across later parts."

His report recommended: "In the light of uneven performance at AS, the QCA should reconsider its earlier decision to examine all AS units in a subject in one session."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 18, 2003
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