Top grade A level results across Northern Ireland show a slight increase on last year, with the percentage of entries awarded the top A* grade rising from 7.2% to 7.3%.
At A* - A there was a slight decrease of 0.8% percentage points from last year to 29.9%, whereas entries achieving grades A* - C rose slightly to 83.7%. The percentage of entries achieving the overall A* - E pass rate has remained broadly similar at 98.1% as opposed to 98.2% in 2013.
Local MP Mark Durkan congratulated students in Londonderry for their performance: “I wish all A-level students in Derry every success in their future endeavours. I congratulate every one of them on their individual achievements – each of whom has made an important step in their lifelong learning journey. It is heartening that A-level students here are continuing to perform extremely well – an achievement which is contributed to by a variety of schools of different types in Derry – secondary, grammar and our regional college of further education.
“Results day is not an easy time for any student and some may find that their grades unfortunately do not match their expectations. Indeed, it is important to note that university is not the only option.
“Therefore students should not make any hasty decisions – and contact their careers advisors to explore the many possibilities still open to them.”
This year’s figures show that amongst the higher entry subjects, Northern Ireland students continue to perform particularly well in the Sciences, Mathematics and Art and Design.
In Mathematics, an impressive 45.3% of entries were awarded grades A* - A.
High performance was also noted in modern language subjects and Further Mathematics. In Further Mathematics 60.2% of entries here achieved A* - A.
This year the number of A level subject entries dropped by 3.8% from 32,836 in 2013 to 31,600 in 2014.
That was broadly in line with the falling student cohort in Northern Ireland and a decrease in entries in the rest of the UK.
The most popular A level subjects continue to be biology, mathematics, history,
English and Religious Studies.
The most popular subject for boys is mathematics, with 1,815 entries, while the top choice for girls is Biology with 1,871 entries.
One area of the curriculum where there has been a greater number of entries is in subjects that support the creative industries such as film and media studies (up 5.7%), and Art and Design (up 3.5%).
While GCE entries have dropped this year, it looks like this will be a short term decline. Entry figures at GCE AS level have jumped to 45,751 this year, an increase of 5.2% on 2013 figures and the highest entry for AS in Northern Ireland since its introduction in 2001.
That reflects the rising pupil cohort numbers we saw at GCSE last year.
Speaking on behalf of the JCQ in Northern Ireland, Anne Marie Duffy, Director of Qualifications at the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) said: “On behalf of all the GCSE and GCE awarding bodies operating in Northern Ireland,
“I would like to offer my congratulations to students receiving results this morning.
“These excellent results reflect your hard work and dedication to study over the last two years.
“In recognising the efforts of students, I must also pay tribute to the expertise of our teachers who have shared in your success today. Teachers hold a key role in ensuring that the examination system in Northern Ireland continues to run effectively.
“It is notable that during a year when GCE entries dropped, the popularity of subjects that support the creative industries increased. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend over the next few years in response to the growing creative economy in Northern Ireland.”