Students on modular A level courses are better motivated, harder working, and more likely to gain high grades than their peers taking traditional A levels, according to a report released last week.
A survey of mathematics heads and students in schools and colleges across the country found that modular maths A levels have defied national trends and grown in popularity since their introduction five years ago.
While the number of students taking traditional "linear" maths A levels has been steadily falling over the past decade, there has been a 49 per cent increase since 1990 in the modular equivalent.
Many institutions and students find modular A levels a good preparation for modular degree courses, but there are concerns that some universities still see non-traditional A levels as second-rate.
The report, MEI Structured Mathematics, Five Years On, says modular study has proved popular among students because it enables them to track their progress and plan their learning programmes, and so motivates them to work harder and achieve higher grades.
Over half of students responding to a questionnaire said they were encouraged to work harder when early results were poor, while only 13 per cent said they felt demoralised. Most said early good results boosted their confidence.
MEI Structured Mathematics, Five Years On, available from Jo Woodhouse, MEI, 11 Market Street, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LL, price Pounds 7.50.