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Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Students in Wales chalk up top marks
examination
Welsh students achieved the UK's top results in 1999
Welsh A-Level students are celebrating their best ever results with the overall pass rate up to nearly 94%.

The percentage achieving an A-grade has also risen - more than a fifth of those who have passed have achieved top marks.

The annual nail-biting has ended with students again improving overall on last year's pass rates.

The Welsh pass rate has risen to 93.7% - a rise of nearly 1% on 1999. The percentage achieving an A-grade has also increased by 1.2% to 20.5%.

students hugging
Top grades are also up
The most significant increases in the pass rates were found in sociology - up by 5.5%, Maths - up by 3.2%, Physics - up by 3.1% and computing - up by 2.9%.

But Law and Design and Technology pass rates were down by around 3%.

There was a 0.9% increase on 1999's figures for WJEC exam entries in Wales to 22,034.

Welsh Assembly Secretary for Education and Children Rosemary Butler congratulated students and teachers across Wales on yet another set of improved A-Level results.

She denied that higher pass marks meant lowering standards.

"The exams are not getting easier, it is an example of young people realising that to get ahead in the new Wales, they need good qualifications."

But the Institute of Directors has expressed scepticism that the pass rate could rise by nearly 20% in less than 20 years.

Increased workload fears

"This is testament to their hard work and the encouragement and support of parents that we may all celebrate another successful year," she said.

County results breakdown
Caerphilly - 93% (up 4%)
Denbighshire - 95.5% (up 0.8%)
Flintshire - 91.6%
Gwynedd - 94%
Powys - 95%
Pembrokeshire - 93.6% (down)
Rhondda - 93.6% (up 1.8%)
Swansea - 94.9% (up 1.8%)
Torfaen - 93.2% (up 0.5%)
Wrexham - 95% (up 0.5%)
"The increased success is evident at all grades. It is wonderful news that more students are achieving pass marks and particularly encouraging that the proportion of those achieving grades A to C has risen further."

A pilot scheme to return marked papers is being extended this year to all subjects for those students who did not achieve the grades they expected and want to know where they went wrong.

But the National Union of Teachers has already expressed concern that the move could mean an increased workload for teachers and additional costs.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Louise Elliott
"The proportion of A-grades increased again this year"

GCSEs:

A-levels:

How they did:

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AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

19 Aug 99 | Wales
05 Jul 99 | UK Education
09 Aug 00 | UK Education
01 Jul 99 | UK Education
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