Wales’ A’ Level Results in Detail

WJEC Chief Executive Gareth Pierce today congratulated students in Wales for their performance at A and AS level. “The results announced today represent the culmination of years of hard work by students and teachers” he said. “They are all to be congratulated for their excellent achievements.”

There was an increase of 1,600 in the number of A level subject entries in Wales this year to 38,433, and an increase of over 1,500 in the number of students entering for the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification’s Advanced Diploma.

As last year, the most popular A and AS level subjects were English, Mathematics and Biology, all of which attracted over 2,500 entries at A level and over 3,000 entries at AS. A growth in the number of entries at A and AS level was seen in Wales for all the sciences and for Mathematics and Further Mathematics compared with last year, with increases ranging from 2% for Biology to 14% for Physics.

Entries for Modern Foreign Languages were more variable in Wales, as was also the case in England. At A level there was a decrease of 8% in the number of entries for French and 3% for German, although Spanish saw an increase of 17%. At AS there were reduced entries in each of these languages.

There was a small improvement in the number of A grades achieved overall at A level, from 24% in 2008 to 25% this year. Subjects where students performed exceptionally well included Chemistry (up 2% to 34% gaining Grade A), French (up 3% to 34% at Grade A), German (up 1% to 34% at Grade A) and Economics (up 6% to 33% at Grade A). The results for Mathematics and Further Mathematics were also excellent, with 44% and 56% respectively of all students gaining A Grades.

The number of entries from male candidates in Wales increased this year at A level (by 7%, representing 1,082 candidates) and at AS (by 2% i.e. 495 candidates). Male candidates also narrowed the gap between their achievements and those of the female candidates, especially at the higher grades, although females continue to do slightly better. For example, the difference between boys and girls achieving an A Grade at A level decreased from 4% in 2008 to 1% this year.

Success for WJEC
WJEC’s A level subject entries from Wales and England increased to 56,500 in 2009, a 7% increase on the comparable figures in 2008. WJEC’s AS entries increased by 40%, from 70,500 last year to 98,900 this year, and entries for the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma nearly doubled from 1,857 in 2008 to 3,419 in 2009.

Over 400 students in Wales and England sat WJEC’s innovative new Applied Business and Applied ICT Single and Double AS awards this year. The examinations for these new qualifications were offered entirely on-screen, as befitted two technology-based applied subjects. The controlled assessment, coursework and examinations featured a combination of avatars, graphics and audio content, as well as simulation software.

“WJEC is delighted to offer these new cutting-edge qualifications, and we look forward to building on this year’s experience with on-screen assessment,” said Gareth Pierce, WJEC Chief Executive. “We are grateful to our staff and teams of examiners and moderators for their commitment in progressing these new developments and in all subjects for their hard work in dealing with a substantial increase in the number of AS and A level examination entries, ensuring that our candidates’ efforts are reliably and fairly reflected in their examination results”

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