Data released with this year's Junior Certificate exam results shows a growing number of Irish students are choosing to study Maths at a higher level.

The results show a small but significant rise in numbers opting to sit the higher Maths paper.

This year's Leaving Certificate results revealed a dramatic rise in numbers taking the higher Maths paper.

The increase at Junior Certificate level is not so dramatic.

Two years ago, 46% of Junior Cert candidates opted for the higher level paper. That rose to 48% last year and has increased to 52% this year.

There has been a similar upwards shift from foundation to ordinary level.

There are two main reasons for the increase. Some students will have their eye on the Leaving Cert and bonus points for higher Maths on that exam.

It is also likely that the phasing in of the new Project Maths curriculum is encouraging some students to aim higher.

Results in Maths reflect this shift with a lower percentage of As awarded. However, the number of As, Bs and Cs is consistent with previous years.