A-level results improve

Thousands of students across England and Wales are today receiving their A-level results amid fresh concerns about the exams getting easier.

Figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications show 97.2 per cent of entries passed this year, up from 96.6 per cent.

There was also a 0.6 per cent increase in those gaining A grades, up to 25.9 per cent.

This year also saw a record number of entrants, with 827,737 students sitting their A-levels, and 1.13 million taking AS-levels.

According to the government increased investment in schools and improvements in teaching are behind the increasing results; not falling standards.

Teaching union the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said government targets had diluted the argument over exams getting easier.

“The key debate for those who teach A-level students and undergraduates is whether the pressure on teachers and lecturers to spoon feed A-level students through exams means students fail to develop the desire to continue learning, and the skills to learn independently,” said general secretary Dr Mary Bousted.

“We urge the government to completely rethink the current targets regime, as well as the curriculum and the current post-16 exams, to make schooling more relevant so students leave school with the skills they need and a hunger to learn.”

The University and College Union said it was “unfortunate” students’ hard work would be overshadowed by complaints over falling standards.

Its general secretary Sally Hunt commented: “Our current system is not perfect, but it is unacceptable that pupils’ results and the hard work of staff in our schools and colleges is the subject of relentless and unmerited downplaying.”