Relatively high pass rates in A/O levels but 51 cheaters caught

Moment of truth for 9,500 students as O and A level results published today...

University rector Alfred Vella (second from right) and MATSEC officials present a summary of the exam results
University rector Alfred Vella (second from right) and MATSEC officials present a summary of the exam results

Some 9,500 students across Malta waited with baited breath for a SMS to arrive with their exam results this morning.

And statistics published by Matsec show that the pass marks were relatively high, with some slight improvements registered for the core subjects at O-level.

69.9% of English language students and 68% of Maltese language ones received pass grades between 1 to 5, up from 65.6% and 65.3% respectively from last year. 54.5% of O-level students passed in maths and 67.2% passed in physics.

This scholastic year was notable in that it was the first in which students opting for vocational subjects, a pilot project launched three years ago, got to sit for their O-levels. The results were quite high – all of the seven agribusiness students passed, as did 94.4% of the 36 engineering technology students, 80% of the 25 hospitality students, 86.7% of the 15 IT students, and 88.9% (eight people) out of the nine health and social care students.

“This is a historic day, because it shows that vocational subjects shouldn’t be side-lined but rather placed at the centre of the education system as are all other subjects,” University rector Alfred Vella told a press conference held to present the results.

The most popular A-level subjects were English, chosen by 867 students, followed by biology which was chosen by 635, Maltese which was chosen by 594, pure maths which was chosen by 494, and accounting which was chosen by 459.

The pass rates in the science subjects were relatively high: 56.4% of biology students, 55.5% of chemistry students and 49.3% of physics students received A-C grades. High A-C grades were obtained by 57.1% of Maltese language students, but only by 42.3% of English language ones.

Psychology was the most popular intermediate level subject, chosen by 967 students, followed by English which was chosen by 843, pure maths which was chosen by 579, and environmental science which was chosen by 397.

2,071 students sat for the mandatory Systems of Knowledge, out of which 80.8% passed.

Matsec director Dario Pirotta said that the exams department made a greater effort to clamp down on cheaters this year, with particular vigilance on mobile phones and smart watches. Indeed, invigilators and markers flagged 51 cases of cheating to the Disciplinary Committee. Penalties to students ranged from a warning to the cancellation of the exam. 

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