A vs. AS: CCHS offers a higher level AICE European History course amid testing error A vs. AS: CCHS offers a higher level AICE European History course amid testing error
BY SASHEEN JOSEPH The Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) program is still relatively new to CCHS and with newness comes change. While... A vs. AS: CCHS offers a higher level AICE European History course amid testing error

BY SASHEEN JOSEPH

The Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) program is still relatively new to CCHS and with newness comes change. While all AICE courses are AS-level at CCHS, a new A-level AICE European History course has been added to the AICE curriculum offered to students at CCHS, all thanks to a missed technicality. 

AICE European History and AICE International History are two AS-level history courses offered at CCHS. As per Cambridge’s guidelines, once a student has passed any AICE history exam, they have fulfilled their credit and will have to move on to a higher course level if they wish to take another history course. For instance, if someone passes AICE European History AS-level, they would have to take another AICE history course at the A-level.

Although this is a standard for the Cambridge AICE curriculum, CCHS administration only recently realized that they overlooked it. Resultantly, eight CCHS students found themselves to be in an AICE course they’re not supposed to be in halfway into the current school year. 

Whether it was that they had already passed one AICE history course and are currently taking another or they are taking two AICE history courses at the same level this year, these students were recently notified by administration that they would have to switch their history course. This led to an A-Level European History course being a quick solution for these students so that their AICE diploma requirements can be fulfilled.

While the European History class is similar at both the AS-level and the A-level, the latter has more content.

While the European History class is similar at both the AS-level and the A-level, the latter has more content.

“The A-level AICE European History class covers a lot of the same topics and materials as the AICE European History class,” senior Rafael Saavedra said. “But [the A-level] goes a lot further in-depth on the topics covered like the beginning of World War I…”

Besides the content depth, the main difference between A-level and AS-level courses is that there are four essay components in the A-level exam instead of the two in the AS-level. The two levels have a similar amount of tests and information and knowledge, yet students are tested on different perspectives and more depth.

Contrary to the original AS-level course, the A-level AICE European History isn’t being administered as a traditional class. Instead, the curriculum is being taught at school to five of the eight students who elected to take the A-level course. 

“It’s not like I’m just now looking at this information for the first time; we went over some of these topics in International History and European History last year.”

Junior Tamar Shani

“I can’t say I’m upset that I’m taking a different exam […] I’m actually much happier. I fell in love with European History last year and I know the entire textbook from front to back,” junior Tamar Shani said. “It’s not like I’m just now looking at this information for the first time; we went over some of these topics in International History and European History last year.”

As the year continues, social studies teacher Peggy Wilfong will simultaneously teach the A-level and AS-level curriculum in order to prepare students for the exam. At this point, Cambridge AICE has not given a definitive answer on how they will be administering their exams, unlike the College Board with their Advanced Placement exams.

Considering the fact that the Cambridge AICE program is taught in multiple countries, the pandemic had varying levels of impact on the students. Although this may be the case, CCHS has still been required to order tests for each student as if the test is definitely being administered in person.

“It’s interesting since in England I think they have decided to not do live testing at all because of the second strain of the virus,” Wilfong said. “So my expectation is that the examiner who scores the exams would maybe score on a lower bar […] I would hope that they recognize that this is not a normal year and that the bar needs to be adjusted in accordance to that.”

Photo by The Lariat Photography

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