Top marks for A-level science students

August 28, 1998

Science students gained more top grades in this year's A levels than in 1997. And the proportion of students taking science subjects was also slightly up on the previous year, writes Alison Goddard.

"We are delighted that not only do standards in science appear to have improved this year, but also a reversal in the recent decline in the numbers studying science A levels has been achieved," said Sir Aaron Klug, president of the Royal Society.

The improvement in standards was also welcomed by the director designate of the Royal Institution, Susan Greenfield. "There have always been those who say that standards are dropping but the truth is we have a lot of able, dedicated teachers and diligent, hardworking studentsI I defy anyone to prove otherwise," she said.

Almost a quarter of the students who sat the chemistry exam achieved the top A grade. The figure of 23 per cent was up 1.6 per cent on 1997, and the proportion of students taking chemistry remained the same, at 5.4 per cent.

Physics also maintained its share of the A-level market, with 4.3 per cent of students taking the subject. The top grade was achieved by 22.4 per cent of entrants, up 0.8 per cent on the previous year. In biology, the proportion of A grade students increased by 1 per cent to 15.9 per cent. The proportion of students sitting the exam also increased by 0.1 per cent to 7.4 per cent.

Other science subjects, accounting for 0.7 per cent of A-level entries, maintained their market share. The proportion of A grades increased by 0.4 per cent to 11.7 per cent.

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