AS-level a hi-tech failure

The record number of students sitting the new AS-level examination in computing masks a poor result when viewed in relation to...

The record number of students sitting the new AS-level examination in computing masks a poor result when viewed in relation to the calibre of the industry's future workforce.

The introduction of the AS-level led to a doubling in the number of students opting to take exams in computing and IT. A breakdown of the results published today, however, shows that some 19.5% failed the test.

Moreover, the percentage of students failing the exam was 6% above the average failure rate of 13.4%, with 18% of students scraping through with grade-E passes and just 7.8% boasting of A-passes.

Steve Palmer, the head of Socitm in London, said: "The news that more students are taking IT exams but also failing them in similarly large numbers, or at least getting disappointing results, does not augur well for the future."

Maniza Ntekim, a policy adviser at the CBI's learning and skills group, said: "It is good that just over 70,000 students sat IT exams at A or AS-level compared to 30,000 who sat A-levels last year, but it is quite shocking that there is such a high failure rate."

Another concern for the CBI was the so-called "male/female discrepancy".

"Out of the number of people who sat the new AS-level in computing, only 29% were female. This needs to be addressed," said Ntekim.

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