Mathematics is the most popular subject to study at A level, having risen by 2.5% on the previous year, according to the 2018 exam results. Most of the students taking these exams will have sat the pre-reform A level Mathematics this year; the new reformed A level started being taught in September 2017. Meanwhile, in Scotland, A-C attainment at Higher went up slightly (0.5%) on the previous year.
At GCSE/National 5 level, where Maths is compulsory, results remain stable. The Department for Education (DfE) reported that in England, 71% of GCSE Maths entries got a grade 4 (or C under the old system) or above - up from 70.7% last year. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) reported a slight increase in Maths National 5, with an A-C attainment rate of 64.7%. In Northern Ireland, the percentage of Maths entries achieving A* - C grades has increased by 1.7 percentage points to 68.1% and in Wales, the figure was 44.2%.
Numbers taking GCSE Statistics continues to fall, while statistics at A level was taken by 800 students this year, broadly comparable to previous years, of which 54.1% achieved grade A-C.
According to Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI), nearly 7,000 students sat the new Core Maths qualification (PDF) exam; with 53% getting A-C grades, an increase on 2017’s figure of 5376.
Scott Keir, RSS head of education and statistical literacy, said: ‘It’s very encouraging to hear that the number of students choosing to study A level maths continues to rise. With the new A level maths now including more statistical content, we hope that its increased take-up - along with Core Maths and the recently reformed A level Statistics - will go some way to address the huge demand in data handling skills that we anticipate over the next few years. We encourage all GCSE students receiving their results today to continue to develop their number and data skills.
'Congratulations to every student for their achievements.’