A-Level (Pre-College) Philosophy Threatened in UK

We face a situation where the A Level Philosophy may soon no longer exist such that we can continue to lament its supposed flaws and where the general perception of the subject amongst exam boards including but not limited to AQA is one of toxicity bordering on viciousness.

An article in The Philosophers Magazine details some of the problems facing the pre-university qualification in philosophy, and suggests that it may cease to exist. Alleged problems include: philosophical inaccuracies, flawed and unpredictable grading, and conflict over the curriculum. (via @zaranosaur)

Any UK philosophers want to help clarify the situation (for those unfamiliar with A-levels) or weigh in with their thoughts about it?

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9 years ago

Many thanks for sharing this article. I’d like to point out that the substantive content of the rest of the article clarifies that these are historical problems that the new specification – identified and linked to right at the top of the article – in combination with revised assessment practices seeks to resolve.

It’s absolutely worth noting that the new specification is an attempt to solve these problems. The trouble is, the reaction to the new specification has been less than supportive, with many teachers making criticisms while apparently unaware of the broader issues with the course and its circumstance within the broader palette of A levels available in the UK.

The point is really this: if criticism of the new specification is to be made, then it needs to be reasonable and based on a full and fair understanding of the facts, including what it means for Philosophy to be an A level, i.e. a standard national qualification with commensurate procedural demands. It needs to be done in a way that stops fuelling the negative perception of the community of teachers and of the subject in general. And it needs to be done in the spirit of ensuring that we continue to have this course in play in the UK’s pre-university provision of qualifications in the future.

As I say quite clearly, the threat only remains live /if the philosophical community at large continues to fail to support it/.

I’d be grateful if you’d consider perhaps quoting some of the other parts of the article that make these points. The whole point of the article was to start to correct some of the recent myth-making and it’s concerning that this particular presentation risks continuing the trend.