Students and teachers facing the A-Level exam shake-ups have had another successful results day, despite a 4% drop in the overall pass rate to 92%.
This year 12 students achieved top grades securing a spot on the Gibraltar Scholar list with three A’s or above.
The local pass rate between A* to E this year misses the UK rate of 97.9%. The UK rate also dropped slightly this year by 0.2%.
Students calmly collected their A-Level results yesterday with many already knowing whether or not they had been accepted into their top choice university.
The rush to grab A-Level results has become a something of the past as many students sit at home by their computer waiting for a response from their top choice university.
This year has seen a shake-up in both the exam syllabus and how universities give notice to the students.
Students were notified by their universities on whether they were successful or not at 9am local time. In other years students had been notified as early as midnight.
Despite the slow start to the morning, the usual cheers and tears could be seen at the school gates.
“The results are all about the people,” said Minister for Education Dr John Cortes.
“This is a day when some people’s dreams are going to seem to be coming true and others will be disappointed. I am here to show solidarity with the students, to congratulate wholeheartedly those who have done extremely well and to encourage those that may be disappointed by the results. I will wish them luck in obtaining university places and also those to who will not go to university.”
“To those who might be disappointed I would like to encourage them. They are young and still have a bright future ahead.”
This year 10 students at Westside and Bayside schools attained three As or above becoming Gibraltar Scholars. Two students from the Gibraltar Boys’ Secondary School also achieved top grades.
Chloe Canepa was eagerly waiting outside the exam result room bright and early at 8am sharp.
Clutching her results Chloe said she achieved an A* and two As in economics, maths and history. With it being so early she still hadn’t confirmed her choice university and was torn between London School of Economics or King’s College London to study economics.
“I am over the moon,” said Chloe.
“I really did not know what to expect because it’s the new course this year. Everyone was saying that the grade boundaries were going to be lower his year and that means everyone has done really badly. I am still in shock. When I opened them I did not know how to react.”
Arielle O’Hana was also one of the early birds accompanied by her mother. Arielle achieved two A*’s and an A in maths, French and economics. She will be studying at economics at King’s College London.
“I am very excited, I was not expecting it and I am really happy,” said Arielle.
“This year I studied three subjects. It was a more of a relief than last year so I enjoyed the subjects more and put more effort into them.”
Westside School celebrated the achievements of a further four scholars being Isabella Gomez, Janella Borrell, Marta Miranda Pons and Shannon Robles.
Bayside School’s four scholars Mihran Haider, Max McGiffen, Matt Savitz and William Newing were all very excited to have been accepted into their choice universities.
Mihran achieved three A*’s in biology, chemistry and maths and will be studying medicine at St George’s University of London. Max got two A*’s and an A in history, English literature and religious studies will be reading law at the University of Oxford. Matt got three A’s in geography, maths and business and will be studying accounting and finance at the University of Southampton.
William achieved three A’s in chemistry, physics and maths, and a B grade in further maths. He was accepted into Warwick University for computer science.
“I’m looking forward to the new experience and setting, and just meeting new people,” said Mihran.
“It has been a lot of studying throughout the year especially with the new specifications. I didn’t exactly know how to approach it but it seems to have paid off thankfully.”
Max added: “At the moment the most salient thing is fresher’s week, definitely getting out there and just enjoying myself. After years and years of studying it is good to have that new experience, being able to meet new people, let my hair down and just enjoy it.”
Matt is looking forward to experiencing the freedom and the nightlife.
“I wasn’t really expecting to do this well and the studying has definitely been worth it,” Matt said.
William told the Chronicle he looks forward to living on his own and being independent.
“It was very hard work with the new system, the sciences were very tricky and studying further maths was also quite tricky as well,” said William.
Two students from the Gibraltar Boys’ Secondary School also celebrated top grades yester- day. Shmuel Bitan achieved an A* in Spanish, an A for Maths and an A for Economics, while Jonathan Garson achieved an A in Spanish and ICT and an A in French, the last subject sat in Bayside.
Despite the slight dip, the overall pass rate was nonetheless seen as a success by the head teachers at Westside, Bayside and the Gibraltar College.
This year the exam syllabus had been transformed meaning that both teachers and students had to get to grips with all the changes.
“We are very happy with the results given that the courses are much more difficult because of the new specifications,” Head teacher Michelle Barabich.
“The outcome has been excellent and we have a 94% pass rate from A* to E and then a 39% pass rate from A* to B, which is one point away from last year. This is the new course which is far more difficult. I have to congratulate the students and the teachers. The teachers have been under immense stress in particular because of the shift to the new courses with more content and faster pace.”
“Both the teachers and the students have worked so hard and have just kept the momentum going.”
Westside is also offering a helpline service to the students with any queries for the second year.
This year AS grades obtained will be used as a guide and unlike other years will not contribute to the final A-Level grade.
“We have allowed departments to choose whether to do AS’s,” Mrs Barabich said.
“This year everybody decided to do AS exams and we are seeing what the new courses are like. It is a stand-alone grade, but they can’t bank it and cash it in next year. Some departments may want to do AS’s again starting September. It was optional as from last September. We are confident that the departments have done well and that the new AS grades have held their ground.”
Bayside Head Teacher Michael Tavares commended the staff and students for all their hard work with the school achieving a 93% pass rate between A* to E.
“Considering the fact that exams are becoming more difficult and the number of students sitting exams has been maintained we have managed to keep our grades above the 90% and we are very pleased with that,” Mr Tavares.
“On the whole today is a day for celebration. We are going through transitional changes so that makes it more difficult but teachers always rise to the challenge. We have the support from the department of education and there is always professional training available.”
Principal at the Gibraltar College Leon Abecasis was extremely pleased that the College had risen to the challenge and achieved an 88% pass rate.
“The students have done extremely well when we compared the results of last year to this year they up slightly,” said Principal of the Gibraltar College Leon Abecasis.
“Both AS results and A-Level results are up by about two percentage points so it is great news we are very happy. For example in Psychology this is the first year they are being assessed over the content of the two years. The results have been very good so that has been a major source relief for all of us. The teachers are delighted.”
“When the syllabus changes you have to get on with the job and manage your time as best as you can to make sure the students are ready for the exam. I think they have all done a great job this year as they do every year.”
Many of the students felt nervous as they approached the school gates. Although many knowing they had been accepted into university there was a sigh of relief to see they had met their personal standards when it came to grades.
College students Billie Jean Marin and David Anderson both passed their A-Level exams in psychology and ICT and were very happy with the result.
David was very excited to be offered a place to study gaming development in Southampton Solent.
“I’m looking forward to the independence, getting away from my parents and growing up,” he laughed.
Bayside student Jamie Attias was very happy to achieve a B, C and E grade and will be taking a gap year before going to a university in Manchester to study engineering.
For his gap year he will be travelling to Israel where he will be studying religion.
Chloe Cortes Dellipiani was very happy with her grades being A, B, C and will be studying creative writing at Brunel University in London.
AS-Level students nervously picked up their exam results even though their grades will not be carried on next year. However, if the student does not continue with the AS to A-Level then the AS will count as a separate qualification.
Sanya Chhugani, Faye Marin and Aryanne Brier yesterday picked up their AS-Level results and were very happy with the results. All three of the girls passed with Sanya scooping three A’s and a B grade.
The girls agreed that having an AS exam as a guideline for next year had been very helpful.