Student choice of study in Curriculum 2000

A new curriculum and assessment structure for students staying in education after age 16 was introduced in the UK for first teaching in 2000, which has become known as Curriculum 2000. Substantial effects of this new curriculum were noted for student retention in the education system and it has also impacted upon students’ choices regarding completion of courses and choice of subjects. First examinations for Curriculum 2000 subjects were introduced in 2001 for the one year AS courses and in summer 2002 for the two year A level courses. A questionnaire study was conducted in September 2002 to investigate how students who had completed their AS examinations decided whether to continue studying a particular subject to A level. Media coverage of concerns regarding the standards of the summer 2002 A level examinations coincided with the questionnaire being completed by the students, making the responses regarding students’ attitudes to the media coverage of examination results very interesting. This paper discusses the impact of Curriculum 2000 upon students’ choices of study and students’ accounts of their choices, as well as their attitudes to the examinations and the media.

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