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The Economic Case for Reforming A Levels

Peter Dolton and Anna Vignoles ()

CEP Discussion Papers from Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

Abstract: Critics claim that A level students often lack essential skills required for the world of work. In response, the government is proposing to reform the A level system. In future, students may take up to five subjects in their first year of sixth form, and a 'key skills' course in IT, communication and the 'application of number'. This paper assesses whether employers pay a wage premium for some A level subjects, confirming a possible shortfall of these 'key skills'. We find individuals with a mathematics A level earn 7-10% more than otherwise similarly educated workers without this qualification.

Date: 1999-04
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