chapter
Prologue
Towards a methodology of modern foreign languages teaching at A/AS level
ByNorbert Pachler
Pages 4

Whilst mfl as subsidiary component of a vocational course, such as the General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ), or as free-standing vocational qualification, such as FLIC or FLAW, etc. (see Chapter 15), have increased in popularity, the number of learners taking a modern foreign language at General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced (A) level examination in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has remained relatively stable (see Figure P.1). This at a time when the participation rate at post-16 in England increased from 51.5 per cent in 1998/9 to 71.5 per cent in 1994/5 (see Lucas 1997, p. 215) and when the number of pupils gaining A*–C grade GCSEs has risen significantly (see Figure P.2). In other words, whilst the number of pupils taking A/AS level has remained stable, in percentage terms of the number of learners staying on at post-16 it has actually declined. Therefore, by far not all pupils who have the pre-requisite linguistic qualifications, i.e. satisfactory mfl GCSE passes, choose to continue their study of a modern foreign language at A/AS level. The introduction of the Advanced Supplementary qualification can be said to have had very little impact in addressing this development. It remains to be seen whether the new Advanced Subsidiary level qualification will improve the situation (see Chapter 2). A/AS level mfl learners remain a rare and treasured species.