Northern Ireland news

No surprises expected as school-leavers receive A-level results

Thousands of pupils will receive A-level results today

SCHOOL-leavers will again be celebrating strong A-level performances with the number of top grades expected to remain similar to previous years.

There will be few surprises when results are issued to pupils today.

Entries for A-levels in Northern Ireland are likely to decrease, although this is in line with school population changes where there are fewer 17 and 18 year olds.

Maths should attract the highest number of entries again while other science subjects remain popular, with a growth in participation among girls.

Of the 10 subjects in which pupils performed best last year, five were in `stem' areas.

A-level results: Useful links

Department of Economy careers service
UCAS clearing
Central Applications Office - universities in the Republic
CCEA - Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
Childline
 

The first ever set of results for CCEA's new Life and Health Sciences A-level will be revealed on Thursday. The applied qualification was developed following the findings of a report that identified the need to support and develop the future workforce.

Some languages are continuing to decline in popularity including Spanish while there is expected to be a fall in the number of pupils receiving results in A-level history.

Figures should show a continued strong performance from Northern Ireland pupils across all grades.

Last year, those awarded the A* grade increased by 0.4 percentage points to 8.1 per cent of entries. The percentage of entries achieving A*-A grade increased by 0.9 percentage points to 30.4. The overall A*-E pass rate remained steady with a 0.1 percentage point increase to 98.3.

There are some concerns that soaring numbers of unconditional degree offers from universities could cause top A-level pass rates to fall. It has been warned that a hike in guaranteed places might encourage pupils to take their foot off the pedal.

At AS-level, a predicted massive slump in entries across the UK is not expected to be mirrored in Northern Ireland. Entries to sit AS-levels fell by almost 60 per cent on last year, provisional figures from Ofqual showed.

Ofqual said this drop was largely due to the `decoupling' of AS from A levels, which meant fewer schools were interested in offering the qualification. In Northern Ireland, AS-levels still count towards the final A-level grade.

The north's exams board, the CCEA will operate a helpline from 9am until 5pm until August 29. Anyone with queries regarding CCEA exam results can call 028 9026 1260, email helpline@ccea.org.uk, or visit www.ccea.org.uk.

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CCEA Examinations Manager Michael Crossan said results days were the culmination of two years hard work for students.

"They also mark the beginning of new journeys and pathways for many, which can be both exciting and challenging," he said.

"CCEA's experienced staff will be available over the results period to assist with any query or concern about CCEA examination results. I wish everyone receiving their results on 16 and 23 August every success on the next stage of your journey and into the future."

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