The class of 2014 has set a record. When the A-level examination results were released yesterday, 91.4 per cent of the 14,185 students who took the exam scored at least three H2 passes and a pass in General Paper (GP) or Knowledge and Inquiry (KI), a benchmark set by the Education Ministry.
This is the country's best showing since the curriculum was revised in 2006 to allow students to take a wider range of subjects. The results this year slid past last year's old record of 91.1 per cent.
Under the new curriculum, students take at least three H2 subjects and one H1 subject. They can choose to take subjects at the H3 level too. The level of difficulty increases from H1 to H3.
Of the first batch of 13,053 students to take the A-level exams in 2007 under the revised curriculum, 87.5 per cent got at least three H2 passes and a pass in GP or KI, and the performance has been improving almost every year since.
The Education Ministry declined to comment on the improved performance, saying only that the year-on-year fluctuations in results are due to differences across cohorts.
Yesterday, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat took to Facebook to encourage the students.
He wrote: "Whether the results are better or worse than what you have been expecting, do remember that this is one stage of your lifelong learning - keep learning!"
At Anglo-Chinese Junior College, top student Miriam Yeo, 18, scored distinctions for all her eight subjects.
She did mathematics and economics at the H2 level and history and literature at both the H2 and H3 level, on top of GP and Project Work, which are compulsory. She was also active in the school's choir and athletics team.
"It can get stressful at times," said Miriam, who hopes to read literature at Britain's Cambridge University.
"But when you have a passion for something, even when it gets overwhelming, it's a good kind of stress. It's a happy problem."
Asked how she intended to celebrate, she said: "I'll be having dinner with my classmates tonight because we wanted to start and end junior college life together. Then I will go home to have dessert with my family."
About one in two students at Victoria Junior College scored at least three distinctions for their H2 subjects, the school said.
Out of its cohort of more than 700 students, 101 of them achieved at least seven distinctions.
At Hwa Chong Institution, principal Hon Chiew Weng told students they had, on average, obtained three As and one B.
Those who had scored at least four distinctions were also asked to go on stage, as their schoolmates clapped and cheered.
Dr Hon also reminded students in Mandarin to "yin shui si yuan" (when you drink water, remember the source). "No matter where you go, you must not forget your roots," he said.
This article was first published on March 3, 2015.
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