ALL London branch
Last update: 22/08/2012
Analysis of Modern Language A-Level Results – June 2012
taking A Level in languages have continued to decrease year on year since 2002
(and, for the first time, this year Spanish also saw a decline).
On the other hand, the number taking Other Languages rose; the main
increase was in Chinese which rose from 2,372 in 2010 to 3,237 in 2011, with
smaller increases in Polish and Portuguese).
Numbers taking AS in ML
The AS figures for languages fell back this year both in
relative and absolute terms following the sharp overall increase in the entries
for both ML and overall totals from 2010 to 2011.
Link with GCSE numbers:
The drop in A/L ML numbers is in line with the drop in
numbers at GCSE ML gaining an A*-C grade from 2009 (ie sitting
Languages are subjects where the ability profile of those taking
the subject is skewed towards the upper end, leading towards high percentages
gaining A and A* grades (French 39.4%, German 41.4%, Spanish 36.5% - A and A*
grades of total A-Level entry)
This is comparable to STEM subjects (Maths 43.9%, Physics 31.9%,
Chemistry 34.4%, Biology 28.8%).
The figure for all subjects is 26.6% - down from 27.0 in 2011.
However, it is significant that in Languages, whilst the NUMBERS
of students gaining A*, A and B grades has remained relatively constant from
2002 to 2012, the numbers gaining C, D and E grades has
dropped sharply, and D and E grades in particular – from 3357 to 1489.
The situation which was highlighted last year around the
relatively low proportion of A* grades in languages has become even more
concerning. For example, whereas for the STEM subjects the percentage of
students awarded A* grades (of all students awarded A - A* grades) remains high,
the figures for languages have become even lower:
ratio of A* grades to A* + A grades
Representations regarding A* issue:
Ofqual have now accepted that there is an anomaly which was
highlighted through the representations of the ALL / ISMLA / ASCL group. Ofqual
are currently investigating and formulating hypotheses, and we are awaiting
feedback. There should be a
transparency to this and other marking / grading processes in order to give
confidence to the wider community, and it is good that there is a forthcoming
ASCL Ofqual conference on October 4th regarding exams and grading generally.
There is a need for a “level playing field” in grading to ensure that the
efforts of students and teachers are fairly rewarded and recognised. Now that
overall grade inflation is being tackled, there is an opportunity for this to be