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Societies can be honest brokers on A-level science standards

Jim Iley

In many ways, school science is thriving. The number of students taking A-level chemistry rose by 20 per cent between 2007 and 2011, from 40,000 to 48,000. Similar trends have been seen for biology, physics and maths.

But it is becoming increasingly difficult to discriminate between an excellent performance in A-level science and a good one. In 2003, 30.8 per cent of pupils taking chemistry A level obtained an A grade; by 2008, the figure was 34.5 per cent. Since then, the proportion getting A or A* has remained constant. The number gaining these grades, around 16,500, is roughly equivalent to all those going to university to study courses that require chemistry A level.

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