Of those sitting the Welsh Joint Education Committee exams, 59.2 per cent gained grades A* to C and the overall pass rate is up to 98.1 per cent.
The proportion gaining grades A* and A increased by 0.8 per cent to 16.4 per cent.
The figures account for 80 per cent of pupils in Wales, where a minority take examinations set by the English boards.
PLANS FRO EARLY GCSES
ABLE pupils should be encouraged to take their GCSEs early,
Education Secretary David Blunkett said this week.
Talented pupils have long been able to take exams early but
ministers want to extend the
practice, particularly in inner-city schools. Schools taking part in the Excellence in Cities programme will be required to draw up development plans for able youngsters.
Last year, only 2,350 children in 1,200 schools took GCSEs early - and most sat only one or two
subjects. Mr Blunkett wants to see 25,000 doing so. He has
dismissed claims that taking
exams early would increase
pressure on pupils and create a two-tier system in state schools.