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Science A-Levels to retain practical tests, says John O'Dowd

By Rebecca Black

Practical assessments will remain part of science subject A-Levels, Education Minister John O'Dowd has announced.

How GCSE and A-Level grades are decided in Northern Ireland was reviewed earlier this year by local examinations body CCEA.

That followed a change in assessments in England from modules to a more exam-focused approach.

But Mr O'Dowd yesterday announced that in Northern Ireland the practical assessments in science subjects will continue.

"Practical work and techniques are an integral part of science and as well as tasking CCEA to improve how science experiments are assessed, I have decided that they should continue to contribute to the overall mark in A-Levels."

However, there will be an alteration to how AS and A2 qualifications are decided. Mr O'Dowd said he had decided to change the weighting of AS-Levels to 40% and A2-Levels to 60%. He said: "This is not a massive difference from the previous 50/50 system and is in line with the position adopted by UCAS and Wales."

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