December 10 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, August 15, 2013
The proportion of A-levels awarded at least an A grade has fallen for the second year in a row, official figures showed today.
In total, 26.3% of entries scored an A or A* this year, down from 26.6% in 2012 - a drop of 0.3%. It is believed to be the second biggest fall in the history of A-levels.
The A*-A pass rate fell for the first time in more than 20 years last year.
The latest drop comes amid rising numbers of teenagers taking A-levels in science and maths.
It had previously been suggested by some that an increased focus on traditional subjects, such as maths and science, could fuel a slight drop, as youngsters who may not have considered taking these subjects in the past, and may not be as strong in them, are now opting for the courses to help their chances of securing a university place.
In total, biology, chemistry and physics accounted for 17.8% of all entries - up from 17% last year and 15% in 2009, according to figures published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).
And one in eight (12%) of entries were for maths or further maths, up from 11.5% last year and 9.8% 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.
The new statistics also show that the number of entries awarded an A* - the very top grade - also dipped this year, with 7.6% of exams scoring the mark, compared with 7.9% last year.
The overall A*-E pass rate has risen slightly by 0.1%. Some 98.1% of exams achieved at least an E, compared with 98% last year.
More than 300,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their A-level results this morning.