Top of the class?

In the A level results released today Northern Ireland A level pupils have continued to outperform their English and Welsh counterparts. Locally the pass rate, the number of A grades and the performance of boys are all up. There were particularly strong performances in mathematics, sciences and languages, skills that have particular relevance to driving economic development in the global economy.

  • smcgiff

    ‘skills that have particular relevance to driving economic development in the global economy.’

    Yet…

  • smcgiff

    Actually my wife got her leaving results yesterday. How many of ye can claim that, eh! 🙂

    She needed to get an honours in Irish before being able to start studying to become a Primary teacher! She got a B1 and this time last year she couldn’t even understand the past exam papers, never mind answering them! There’s hope for us all.

  • Keith M

    Interesting as yesterday the Irish Leaving Cert. results were published and the main news coverage was on the high failure rate in maths and science.

    The difference between the two educational systems is that in this country you have to do maths (and most end up doing at least one science) to an advanced level even if you have no natural aptitude for the subject. In N.I. there’s far more specialization. I’m not sure which works best in the longer term.

  • emigreinwaiting

    Its always great to read this sort of stuff about pass rate increasing etc etc. Only problem is then most of our best and brightest piss off the England and Scotland. As ever NI’s best export is young talent.

  • smcgiff

    ‘you have to do maths (and most end up doing at least one science) to an advanced level even if you have no natural aptitude for the subject.’

    Have you not heard of the Foundation course Leaving Cert course… here’s a question example.

    ‘You see a car with the following number plate, 04D20229, what would be the number plate of the next car registered in Dublin for that year’

    I kid you not!

  • Young Fogey

    Just be careful before getting too celebratory… have a wee shufty at this article about the new Double Award Science GCSE course and scroll down to “click to enlarge” to have a look at some of the Science GCSE questions.

  • willis

    Young Fogey

    It looks like the highest score the President of the USA could expect is 50%

  • Harry Flashman

    Ok this is where cranky oul’ gits like me come in, apparently our schoolchildren are the best ever educated in the history of the planet with a squidrillion A’ Levels each. So how come they all seem like morons?

    After the dreadful murder of that poor wee fellow in Ballymena there was a link here on Slugger (soon terminated) to something called BeBo which is a website where our young wunderkinds “hang out”, I looked at it and assumed it was written in Serbo-Croat, it took me twenty minutes before I realised they were speaking English or at least the “English” that passes for written thought among our young potential Nobel Prize winners.

    Has anyone actually taken an A-Level paper from say 1982 and compared it with an A-Level paper today? Are they comparable? Were we such thickos back then that scraping a C was considered not a bad result compared to this generation of Einsteins who seem to get 5 A*’s without breaking sweat?

    I only ask is all.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Has anyone actually taken an A-Level paper from say 1982’

    They had paper in 1982?

  • willis

    Harry

    You can’t get an A* at A level, only at GCSE.

  • Alan

    They just have to work harder these days, something that rarely crossed our minds years ago, Harry ; we had less competition, more time, less stress, and consequently poorer results.

    Well, done to all of them A and AS levels – imagine a lower 6th year with real exams at the end !

  • Young Fogey

    Has anyone actually taken an A-Level paper from say 1982 and compared it with an A-Level paper today?

    Go into Belfast Central Library sometime which has, or certainly used to have, past papers going back to the 1980s – the A-Levels I took in 1995 were much easier than their counterparts of 1985, but were still Nobel Prize training efforts compared to those of 2005.

    I’m not as sure of the arts and social sciences, but in Maths and hard Sciences the curriculum has narrowed dramatically in recent years.

    And the situation at GCSE is much worse than A-Level.

  • slug

    I wonder if differentiation from first principles, integration by parts, and imaginary numbers are still part of the Additional Maths GCSE curriculum?

  • Young Fogey

    Have a look yourself – http://www.ccea.org.uk/gcse.htm

    No imaginary numbers that I can find, but calculus seems fairly untouched.

    Actually, I can’t remember if imaginary numbers were on the syllabus when I did GCSE Add Maths, but double maths GCSE and A-Level all becomes a bit of a blur more than a decade later.

  • eranu

    not 82 but i did my A levels around 1992. as i remember it, to get below an E you would either need to have not listened / worked in class or been a bit thick. lets not forget half the population has below average intelligence though..

    my theory on NIs good results is that behaviour in class plays a large part in hampering or helping the learning of the entire class. in general i think NIs school kids are probably better behaved than english kids and so end up learning more. i think this is due to grammar schools here that have a high educational ethos and comprehensives in england that lump badly behaved kids in with good ones. the bad ones having the effect of holding the class back.

    the alternative would be that northern irish people are more intelligent than those on the mainland ! 😉

  • Young Fogey

    the alternative would be that northern irish people are more intelligent than those on the mainland !

    Having lived in London for six years, eranu, I’m feeling that so strong!!!

    Of course, intelligence and common sense are two completely different things.

  • Harry Flashman

    What’s a GCSE? I was an O’ Level man meself.

    Willis, you’re joking right? We were stress free compared to this lot? I went back to my old school a while back, one of the playing fields was concreted over for a car park, loads of neat little Vauxhall Corsas and Ford Focuses, I figured they were paying the teachers alot better these days compared to when second hand Citroen Dianes and Austin Allegros were the car of choice, Holy F*ck Batman these were the pupils’ cars!

    Stress, did you get Baker’s days when you were at school? What about the classroom assistants? I don’t remember them. Holidays in Florida for Easter? We got to Buncrana for the weekend!

    Don’t talk to me about stress, why when I were a lad we’d walk barefoot through the snow for twenty miles. . . .

  • Crataegus

    Great results and well pleased to see dear old maths on the up.

    They all did well.

  • smcgiff

    http://www.rte.ie/business/2006/0818/steorn.html

    “Irish firm claims ‘free energy’ invention”

    Who says the Irish have a problem with Science!

    Of course this will work! Erm, wont it?