AS/A Level Courses
Having successfully completed GCSE/IGCSE examinations, students, in consultation with their teachers and parents, will select 4 subjects for their Year 12 programme. The choice of subjects should be carefully researched as students at this stage should be considering university choices and future career aspirations. The New School offers Humanities and Sciences combinations. At Year 12 level students prepare for ‘AS’ (Advanced Subsidiary) examinations taken in January (Module 1) and June (Module 2 and 3). These exams mark a midway evaluation of the student’s individual progress. At the end of Year 12 students can receive ‘AS’ certification in one of the 4 subjects and then proceed to ‘A’ level (Advanced level) in Year 13 with the other 3 subjects. For university application purposes only 3 subjects at ‘A’ level are required. Students prepare for external exams in January (Module 4) and June (Modules 5 and 6). The New School is a recognised examination centre for ‘AS’ and ‘A’ level examinations with Edexcel.
In Year 12 and 13 students are encouraged to develop independent study and research skills and a responsible approach to time management. ‘AS’ and and ‘A’ level courses represent the ‘gold standard’ for university entrance and provide an in depth preparation for students planning to attend the most prestigious British universities.
The New School offers the following subjects at ‘AS’ and ‘A’ level:
- English Literature;
- Further Mathematics;
At the end of the course students receive a grade in each subject representing a range of pass grades from ‘A’ to ‘E’. Grade ‘U’ represents unclassified and is not a pass grade. Universities will make an offer of a place conditional on a number of pass grades.
Why does The New School Rome teach A-Levels and not the IB?
A number of international schools in Italy and beyond have chosen the IB as the final school qualification prior to progressing to higher education. Whilst we respect our colleagues’ decision in other schools, The New School Rome has decided to retain A-Levels. The principle reasons for this decision are:
a) As an English international school, the school feels that it is correct to maintain the system that the vast majority of schools in the UK still use. Given that 90% of our students go on to UK universities this seems sensible.
b) A-Levels are an older system of school-leaving qualification, recognised throughout the world and rightly respected as truly reflective of British education.
c) Given the existence of AS-Levels at the end of the 12th year of school, university admissions officers have far more data to assess accurately an applicant sitting A-Levels than they have when assessing an IB applicant who takes no formal examinations at the end of their 12th school year. In fact Cambridge University has recently written to all UK schools urging them to retain AS Levels since they are a ‘robust’ indicator of a student’s academic ability. In addition, the presence of the AS-Levels as a ‘halfway-point’ delivers to the pupil a snapshot of their progress at the midpoint of their A-Level studies. This will help them identify weak spots, select appropriate universities to apply to and may also deliver a much-needed ‘wake-up call’ or to a pupil who has been underperforming.
d) There is evidence from universities to suggest that IB students who go on to study academically specific courses at university do less well than A-Level students. This is because A-Level courses examine subjects in more detail which is a definite advantage prior to studying specialist subjects at university.
h) There is one aspect of the IB course that we have decided to embrace and that is the ‘Theory of Knowledge’ essay. The New School Rome now offers the Extended Project Qualification which is similar in scope and which is worth an AS Level.