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A-LEVELS: Proportion of UK A-Level top grades drops again this year
11:00am Friday 16th August 2013 in News
NATIONALLY the proportion of A-Levels awarded top grades has fallen for the second year amid a rise in students taking science and maths, official figures show.
In total, 26.3 per cent of entries scored an A or A*, down from 26.6 per cent last year – a drop of 0.3 per cent. It is believed to be the second biggest fall in the history of A-Levels, and comes the year after the A*-A pass rate fell for the first time in more than 20 years.
The number of entries awarded an A* – the highest grade – also dipped to 7.6 per cent, compared with 7.9 per cent last year, while the overall A*-E pass rate rose slightly by 0.1 to 98.1 per cent.
As the pass rate dipped, a breakdown by subject revealed a continued move towards science and maths A-Levels, which are often seen as tougher, and more traditional subjects.
Biology, chemistry and physics accounted for 17.8 per cent of entries, up from 17 per cent last year and 15 per cent in 2009, according to figures published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).
One in eight (12 per cent) of entries was in maths or further maths, up from 11.5 per cent last year and 9.8 per cent five years ago.
There were almost 24,000 more entries for the sciences this year compared with 2009, JCQ said, and nearly 19,000 more for maths courses.
Chemistry entries alone were up 5.2 per cent this year, further maths was up 4.5 per cent and physics entries rose by 3.1 per cent, the statistics show.
Girls are still more likely than boys to get an A* or an A, but boys this year were slightly more likely to get the highest grade – A*.
A total of 7.9 per cent of boys’ entries got an A*, compared with 7.4 per cent of those from girls.
When As and A*s are grouped together, girls perform best – with 26.7 per cent of their entries hitting this mark, compared with 25.9 per cent for boys.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts, above, congratulated the hundreds of thousands of pupils who received their A-level results during a visit to the headquarters of admissions service Ucas in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
“Here at Ucas in Cheltenham I am seeing hundreds of thousands of young people who’ve achieved great A-Level grades,” Mr Willetts said.
“I congratulate them on that and they are now on their way to university. In fact, for this stage of the process it looks as if more young people have got their definite place at university than ever before at this stage.”
- s FROM next month, pupils will not be able to sit A-Level exams in January – all exams will be taken in the summer. Other longer-term changes planned by Education Secretary Michael Gove, left, are for all assessments to be taken at the end of the A-Level, rather than at the end of each year, and the introduction of a stand-alone AS-Level which will not contribute to a full A-Level. The curriculum content of current exams is also being reviewed.
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