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From Crowther to Core Skills

Margaret Mathieson
Oxford Review of Education
Vol. 18, No. 3 (1992), pp. 185-199
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1050485
Page Count: 15
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From Crowther to Core Skills
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Abstract

Both major political parties are currently giving a high priority to this country's quality of education, especially to its provision for 16-19 year-olds. Responding to persistent criticism expressed by leading industrialists and scientists of our narrow specialisation, the government produced its White Papers on further and higher education with issues of breadth and equivalence of status at their core. The purpose of this article is to trace the recent history of largely unsuccessful attempts to reform the A-level examinations, to show why they failed and to draw some conclusions about that history which may be relevant to the contemporary political and educational debate. Firstly, it will consider the likely outlook for the Advanced Supplementary Examinations, which have been introduced as broadening devices for pupils and which are intended to coexist with traditional A-level courses. Secondly, it will consider recent proposals to introduce core skills, a more radical initiative which seeks to incorporate identifiable common skills into both A-level and AS courses and vocational courses. The strength and nature of past resistance to changes at A level and the mixed reception given to these initiatives inside and outside schools and colleges do not augur well for their success.

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