Friday, August 19, 2005

Another record number of passes at ‘A’ Level

By Alice Mascarenhas

Gibraltar ‘A’ Level students have again achieved a record number of passes with Westside students achieving a 97% pass rate, Bayside 94% and Gibraltar College 91%.

Education Minister Dr Bernard Linares yesterday expressed his delight at what he described as extraordinary good results once again. This year there are nine Gibraltar scholars from both schools.

“Every year we think we have peaked, but once again this year we have a record number of passes in both our schools. The percentage of A grades are also impressive and higher than UK averages (31% in Bayside and 29% in Westside). These results would place our schools amongst the top in UK league tables,” emphasised Dr Linares.

For both schools the total number of subject entries had been 388. Total passes were 371. Overall pass rates for both schools for grades A-B was 45%, and for grades A-E was 96%.

Commenting on the recent suggestions that the standard in exams has dropped, Dr Linares adamantly stated he did not give credence to this.

“Most front-line experts in UK affirm that the increasingly good results are due to the fact that the students are now better prepared for the requirements of these exams and so are their teachers with improved professional competence and better resources,” he said. A view also subscribed to by both Westside and Bayside head teachers.

Just before 9.30am the stream of girls heading for Westside visible from all directions from the school. Many hurrying along not wanting to be deterred from their objective.

The queue grew longer as nine-thirty approached, and the tables were set up in the Drama Studio. There was an orderly fashion but the serious looks became smiles in moments as the students looked at their papers. For some, their parents were waiting patiently outside, but most had chosen to see the results first with their friends, and then it was straight onto the mobiles to call mum or dad. Many through tears of joy informed them: “Yes, I got them all!”

The scenes at Bayside were similar, as the boys lined up to get their own results.

“Perhaps you know you are going to do well, but there is always that amount of fear , until you see the results for yourself,” one boy said.

Westside head Alan Gordon, and Bayside head Ivan Navas, were relaxed as they watched with anticipation the faces of their students. And why not, both already knew that the pass rate had been high.

At Westside pass rate was 97% (A-E) grades, 52% (A-B). The total number of entries had been 220 out of which 213 were passes. In two of the Boards, Edexcel, and OCR 100%.

At Westside the subjects which achieved 100% pass rates A-E were: Chemistry, Economics, English Literature, French, Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Spanish, and Sports Studies/PE.

At Bayside the pass rate was 94% (A-E) grades, 56% (A-B). The total number of entries had been 168 out of which 158 were passes.

At Bayside the subjects which achieved 100% pass rates A-E were: Art and Design, Business Studies, English Literature, French, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Spanish and Sports Studies/PE.

In both schools the AS Levels have also been very good with students showing much promise.

At Westside the pass rate A-E was 94%, and at Bayside A-E was 81%.

Many of the students were making sure they had made the grade to enter the university of their choice.

At Westside many could not believe their results, the boys were the same.

The Gibraltar scholars were either heading for the medical profession, engineering or law, although English and History, History and Sociology, and Philosophy, Politics and Economics were also on the cards.

Alan Gordon, head teacher Westside, commented that at least for the time being the A Levels are here to stay despite all the controversy in recent months regarding the future of education.

Mr Gordon pointed out that today A Levels were a different style of exam and probably easier to obtain a higher grade because of the modular system. There are at present six exams taken over the two A Level years.

Both he and Ivan Navas, outgoing head of Bayside, were keen to emphasise that more resources, and different teaching methods have added to the increased pass rates.

“The students too have more incentive. Students locally of course have the incentive of going to university in the UK, and university degrees are becoming more demanding, and more jobs are also demanding a higher level of education, so all these things provide incentives.

Whereas in the past people were quite content to get 7 or 8 O’Levels and leave it at that, nowadays things are very different.”

“The important thing is that the pass rate continues to be very high,” said Ivan Navas.

“There is no doubt that teaching methods have improved tremendously, and aside from the fact that there are many more students doing A Levels, there has been great advance in both teaching and learning methods.”

Victor Hermida Principal at the Gibraltar College where the overall pass rate had been 91% stated he had been delighted with the results.

“It is excellent, and it is time we congratulated all students, and members of staff for two years of commitment, and a lot of hard work,” he said.

Achieving three A’s. Gibraltar Scholars at Bayside: William Marsh, Matthew Pallas, Mark Culatto, Nicholas Montegriffo, and Karan Aswani.

Gibraltar Scholars at Westside: Yumna Haroon, Mariam Sayed, Natalia Shoesmith and Marie Curtis-Barton. Another three A’s student is Nechama Levy from the Jewish School.

Education Minister Dr Linares has congratulated all the pupils for their success as a result of hard work and motivation and the teachers for their professional dedication.

Meanwhile the statistics from the UK show that the overall pass rate in this year’s A-level exams have continued to rise with the number of entries at an all-time high, exam authorities said. The number of passes at the top A grade also rose, by 0.4 percent to 22.8 percent, said the Joint Council for Qualifications. Girls are still performing better than boys, although boys are catching up.

Related Links:

GCE ‘A’ Level Results 2005 - Download
AS Level results / A Level results

Gibraltar Government Official Statement: Education Minister delighted with GCE A Level Exam Results

Gibraltar Government Education & Training Pages

Gibraltar College of Further Education

Bayside Comprehensive School

Westside Comprehensive School


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