Sixth-formers across the the Dungannon District are today finding out if their hard work and effort has paid off as they wake up to their A-level results.
The outlook is promising with the news that Northern Ireland has once again outperformed the rest of the UK in the proportion of students achieving A-level grades A*-A
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.
Stormont education minister John O’Dowd said: “Every pupil is different and they stand the best chance of succeeding if they follow courses that interest and inspire them.
“Pupils here continue to perform particularly well and I am delighted to see STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects such as biology and maths ranking amongst the most popular choices for pupils.”
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.”