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EDITIONS
Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
NI students top of the class
Hard work pays off for some A-level students
Hard work pays off for some A-level students
The A-level results in Northern Ireland have outscored the national average with 25% classified as A grades.

Slightly over one in four of the 19,467 results issued by the Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment fell (CCEA) into the top category.

The average for England, Wales and Northern Ireland was 17.8%.

The CCEA said the province's figure was three per cent higher than last year and up five per cent on 1998.

Just under half the entries, 49.6%, got either A or B grades while 93.9% were classified as an E or higher, compared with the national average of 89.1%.

Nearly 10,000 students sat A-levels in Northern Ireland
Nearly 10,000 students sat A-levels in Northern Ireland
The examining board said there was no question of the exams becoming easier.

"We employ fairly stringent measures to ensure standards are maintained," said a CCEA spokesman.

"The fact is that students here are doing better."

Nearly 9,700 students sat A-levels set by the CCEA this year, roughly the same as 1999.

Two years ago, a fifth of the A-level exams resulted in A grades but this year more than a quarter of students - 25.4% - have achieved the top grade.

There has been a similar improvement across the board with almost half of those taking the exams receiving either A or B grades.

In fact only 6% of entries were failed by the examiners.

Figures show that there were a total of 9,676 candidates this year, with 19,467 subject entries.

Ministers' congratulations

Education minister Martin McGuinness and further and higher education minister Sean Farren congratulated local students and their teachers on the improved standards.

Education minister Martin McGuiness
Martin McGuiness: Hope all have benefitted from school
Mr McGuinness said: "The results announced by CCEA are a credit to the efforts of not only the pupil's themselves, but also the dedication of the teachers and lecturers in our schools and colleges.

He added, however: "While it is right for us to congratulate those pupils who have helped achieve these results some young people will not have done as well as they would have hoped.

"It is important to remember that school is not just about exam results and I hope that all of the young people leaving school today will have benefited from their experience at school and will be better prepared for adult life and the world of work."

Dr Farren echoed Mr McGuinness' remarks and reminded students that his department, and particularly the Training and Employment Agency, was there to help.

Helplines

All the UK boards published their A-level results on Thursday and the universities have already made their initial decisions on who will get places.

Queen's University in Belfast and the University of Ulster have help lines for students who want to know if they have been accepted.

However, the message from careers' officers is that a disappointing result is not the end of the world.

There are many courses available other than higher education and students have the option of repeating the examinations to get a higher grade.

The CCEA is also providing a help line for student and parents who have queries regarding their GCSE and A-level results. The number is 028 9026 1260.

The service is available weekdays, from 9am until 5pm until Friday 25 August.

CCEA is also providing a new service in which candidates can request access to one or more of their examination scripts.

GCSE results will be issued to candidates on Tuesday 22 August.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's education correspondent Maggie Taggart
"More than one quarter have achieved top grade"

GCSEs:

A-levels:

How they did:

Features:

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See also:

17 Aug 00 | N Ireland
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