The A-level performance of Welsh college students improved perceptibly last year but still trails its school counterpart.
The school and college information booklets for 1997, issued this week by the Welsh Office, show that the average point score per subject - on a scale ranging from ten points for an A grade to two points for an E - rose from 4.8 to 5 points. School students averaged 5.5 points. The average total score for a college candidate taking two or more subjects was 15 points, against 16 in schools.
Of 2,695 candidates taking two or more subjects, half achieved two passes at C grade or better. Eighty-five per cent had two passes at E or better. Corresponding figures for school students were 55 per cent and 89 per cent.
There was a sharp drop in the numbers taking vocational qualifications at college. In 1997, 1,355 received intermediate (level 2) awards, while 886 won an advanced (level 3) award. This compares with 1,738 level-2 vocational awards and 973 level-3 in 1996 - a drop of 17-18 per cent across the two award levels. Colleges now account for a little over half of the candidates at these levels in Wales.