Total of A-level passes rises in North, but share of top grades dips slightly

Gender difference in results table now all but disappeared

 Emma Wallace, Jonathan McKeag , Sarah Robinson and Peter Mulligan at Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast with their A-level results. Photographer: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Emma Wallace, Jonathan McKeag , Sarah Robinson and Peter Mulligan at Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast with their A-level results. Photographer: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Fri, Aug 16, 2013, 01:00



The number of top grades awarded to A-level students in Northern Ireland has fallen slightly, but the overall number of passes has risen. Some 33,000 students who took the exam, the equivalent of the Leaving Cert, received their results online yesterday at 7.30am.

While the percentage achieving the highest grades – A* and A – fell to 30.7 per cent from 31.9 per cent last year, more students achieved pass grades in total.

The overall pass rate is now 98.2 per cent, a slight improvement on last year, and a figure only marginally ahead of results in England.

Girls are still outperforming boys but the gap between the sexes has fallen to near parity.

About 50 per cent of A-level students will use their grades to gain entry to university next month. This is well above the equivalent figure in Britain.

The two Stormont Ministers with responsibility for education have congratulated the students and their teachers.

Minister for Education John O’Dowd said: “Today marks the culmination of many years of hard work by the young people who have received their A-level results. The level of attainment of pupils in our schools is testament to the work and commitment of parents, teachers and above all, the pupils themselves.”

Stephen Farry, the Employment and Learning Minister, said: “Sometimes results can mean a change of plan and we want to let students know that there are still many possibilities and choices available, whether you have done better than expected or not as well as you had hoped.”

Mr Farry added: “My primary advice to anyone in this situation is to remember that help is at hand. My department’s careers service has a team of professionally qualified careers advisers offering impartial careers guidance to young people and adults.”