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Last update: 27/05/2012


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Summary of analysis of ML figures at A-level

Figures are for England and have been taken from JCQ statistics. There is an accompanying Excel spreadsheet with all the figures and graphs.


    There has been a steady decline in the numbers taking AL Modern Languages over the last 20 years, with sharp declines for the exams taken in Juní02 onwards (- new Curriculum 2000 with AS etc), so that now the numbers have fallen by around half.

      Both AL and AS were steady from around 2004-2007, but there has been a further decline in the last two years; it is a concern that there was a drop for AL in 2010 even though the numbers for AS had remained constant from 2008 to 2009. We can expect a further drop in AL numbers in 2011 on the basis of the 2010 AS numbers.

      The pattern is very similar for French and German, just different starting points (e.g French: 1993 = 29,886, 2010 = 13,850 (i.e. 46%); German: 1993 = 10,857, 2010 = 5,548  (i.e. =  51%)

     Whereas the number of A grade students at both AL and AS has remained reasonably constant, there has been a particularly marked decline in lower-attaining pupils especially at AL
(e.g. AL French grade A: 1993 = 5,559,  2002 = 4,575,  2010 = 5,415;  512 ; French grade E: 1993 = 4,064, 2002 = 1,202, 2010 = 512
AS French grade A: 2002 = 5,796, 2010 = 5,356; French grade E: 2002 = 2417, 2010 = 1773)

      The change in the intake profile has led to an increased percentage of entries getting higher grades, but there is an unresolved question as to whether the increase has been great enough to match the attainment of the students.  The small number of E grade students leads to a particular issue at A and AS level where the grade boundaries are determined by a linear interpolation between the A/B boundary and the E/U boundary.

      The numbers taking Spanish have increased in the same period and now exceed the number taking German (e.g. Spanish: 1993 = 4,850, 2002 = 5,572, 2010 = 7,629)

      There is a contrast with other subjects such as History, English, Maths, Further Maths (which now exceeds German) and Science subjects such as Physics.





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