4.10.6 A and AS level results are slightly lower in the South West than the England average. In 2009/10, the average point score per candidate entered for Level 3 qualifications was 728.0 (Department for Education, GCE/Applied GCE A/AS and equivalent results). This is slightly better than the equivalent of two A grades and one D, or three B grades. While better than the average point score for the previous year of 719.7 points, it is lower than the England average of 744.8 points. As with other qualification levels, girls (737.9 points) achieved better results than boys (716.7 points). One-in-ten candidates (10%) achieved three or more ‘A’ grades in the South West compared with the England average of 13%. The percentage of boys achieving the highest grades (9.9%) is broadly similar to the percentage of girls (10.1%) achieving the same level (Figure 4.10.2).
Figure 4.10.2 GCE A and AS level results for 16-18 year olds (average QCA point score1) by gender; South West, 2005/6 to 2009/10
GCE A and AS level results for 16-18 year olds (average QCA point score1) by gender; South West, 2005/6 to 2009/10 (Fig 4.10.2). Source: DfE.
4.10.7 Average point scores are highest for candidates living in the region’s villages (856.1 points) and rural towns and fringes (770.1 points). Candidates living in hamlets and isolated dwellings (715.1 points) and urban areas (720.8 points) performed less well. The percentage of students achieving the three or more A grades also varied considerably by area type, ranging from almost one-fifth (18.6%) of students living in villages to almost one-in-ten candidates living in rural town and fringes (8.7%). Results at local authority district level reflect this variation with the highest points recorded by candidates in Salisbury (922.1 points) and the lowest in Torridge (569.4 points).
4.10.8 Local authorities monitor the number of young people taking A levels in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biological Sciences. The number of young people studying these subjects has increased in recent years. Compared with 2007/8, the number of A level entries in 2009/10 was 13% higher for Physics, 11% higher for Chemistry, 6% higher for Biology and 20% higher for Mathematics.