Mathematics maintains its popularity at A-level

The popularity of Mathematics at A-level continues with another increase in the number of Mathematics entries across the UK. The number of students sitting the exam is up 2.5% on last year to 97,627. This continues to be a welcome trend for Mathematics and shows that students value the skills a Mathematics qualification gives them to help fulfil their career aspirations and is excellent currency in the job market. However, the figures for AS show a significant decrease.

Figures released today by the Joint Council for Qualifications show that:

  • A-level Further Mathematics entries decreased by 0.09% (to 16,157)
  • AS Mathematics entries decreased by 49.5% (to 81,051)
  • AS Further Mathematics entries decreased by 34.1% (to 18,426)

Dr Kevin Houston, LMS Education Secretary, commented: ‘It is great to see that mathematics is the most popular A-level subject and that so many students are attaining excellent grades. Our congratulations to the students and teachers who have worked so hard to make this happen. A worrying outcome of A-level reforms are the large drops in AS entries for Mathematics and Further Mathematics. Coupled with only a small number taking Core Mathematics, this means that there are far fewer students experiencing Mathematics beyond 16 when the UK should be ensuring that the opposite is true’.

The skills students develop in studying Mathematics opens up a wide choice of rewarding careers. Mathematics is a pre-requisite for jobs in all sectors of the economy, whether or not they go on to use their Mathematics qualification in higher education. The numeracy, modelling, logical and problem-solving skills they have gained from their maths studies are sought by employers, and the contribution these young people will make to our economic success in the future is crucial. The flow of trained mathematicians into other disciplines and into the industries of the future relies upon our universities’ research and teaching excellence.