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A-Level results show pupils, not just ministers, want greater academic rigour

By Mark Wallace
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GoveToday's A-Level results provide further evidence that the simplistic grade-is-good analysis is being replaced by an appreciation for a more rigorous exam system.

For the second year in a row, the proportion of A or A* grades awarded has fallen (by 0.3 per cent to 26.3 per cent).

Interestingly, it seems pupils are also gravitating towards those subjects which have traditionally been more academically demanding, suggesting they also appreciate the value of a more rigorous set of qualifications. 

While the uptake of General Studies has collapsed by 30.4 per cent since 2010, Law has fallen by 14.3 per cent  and Business Studies has declined by 9.3 per cent, the number taking Chemistry is up 23.7 per cent and Maths is up by 19.2 per cent. Economics saw a jump of 7.4 per cent in a single year.

As the CBI suggests, It seems no coincidence that these changes have happened since the introduction of increased tuition fees. Pupils are placing a greater value on more difficult subjects which have greater relevance to their eventual careers, and are abandoning more whimsical subjects that offer less practical benefit in their later life. 

Gove's reforms are rippling through the system.

The knock-on effect is that the nation is gaining more mathematicians and more scientists: a welcome reversal of what had been a damaging trend. 


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