Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Our Level Best

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Our Level Best

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanna Desira

Hundreds of Teesside teenagers were celebrating today after A-level results improved for the 21st year in a row.

Students from schools and colleges across the area were today discovering whether their hard work had paid off.

But with the pass rate continuing to increase, critics once more slammed the exams for being too easy.

The number of students passing has gone up 1.1pc to 95.4pc and the proportion awarded A grades has increased 0.9pc to 21.6pc.

But business bosses have claimed the exams are not as difficult.

And a headteachers' union has said savvy students are choosing easier A levels such as psychology and media studies so they get better grades.

Secondary Heads Association general secretary John Dunford said: "It is statistically proven that there is no single standard of A Level and that grades in maths, physics, chemistry and modern languages are harder to achieve than in psychology and some other subjects."

But Jennifer Moffat, 18, From Linthorpe, a student at St Mary's College, Saltersgill Road, Middlesbrough is one pupil who could refute that.

She is looking forward to a career as a doctor after getting As in chemistry and maths and a B in physics - good enough to study medicine at Leeds University.

She said: "I'm shaking, I didn't expect to do so well."

Her vice-principal, Don Lillistone, said: "A lot of misinformed nonsense is being spoken about how easy it is to pass examination these days.

"Young people today are better taught, supported and guided than at any time in the past and that, coupled with the students' determination to succeed, is what has produced today's results."

David Dunn, headteacher of Yarm School, agreed saying: "That certainly hasn't been the case at this school. Some of our exceptional performances have been in subjects like maths, physics, biology, further maths, not subjects that are easy at all. …

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