Byline: By IAN JONES
EDUCATION bosses last night insisted A-levels were not getting easier, as students anxiously waited for their results.
Lord Adonis hit back at critics who claimed the qualification was "dumbed down."
His comments came amid predictions of another record number of A-grades.
The UK schools minister admitted universities needed more information to identify the brightest candidates and promised to introduce tougher exam questions in future.
Lord Adonis said report after report by the government's independent agencies showed standards were being maintained.
"I think students, who we warmly congratulate on their results, can have full confidence that standards are being maintained," he said.
"Continued progress in exam performance is real - it is not the result of dumbing down of standards - and the roots of this success lie in a fundamental shift in the quality of teaching in our schools."
His remarks followed a debate about the future of the exams, sparked by a government decision to reject plans for replacing A-levels and GCSEs with a new broad-based diploma.
A leading public schools group attacked Tony Blair and education secretary Ruth Kelly for rejecting the plan and warned A-levels were "in terminal decline."
Geoff Lucas, general secretary of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, said: "It is not just …