A-level grades fall from document highs as exams return

High A-level grades in England, Wales and Northern Eire have fallen from the document highs of the previous two years as examination assessments returned to pre-pandemic requirements.

About 36.4 per cent of A-level assessments had been graded between A* and A this yr, in response to knowledge launched on Thursday by the Joint Council for {Qualifications}.

The speed was decrease than the 44.8 per cent achieved final yr when trainer assessments changed formal examinations, however increased than the 25.4 per cent in 2019.

The declining cross charge marked a guided return to pre-pandemic assessments in educational and vocational {qualifications}, rising strain on college students to satisfy their college gives after two years of disrupted schooling.

Annalee Macfarlane
Annalee Macfarlane

At Portsmouth Excessive Faculty, an unbiased ladies faculty in southern England, headteacher Jane Prescott mentioned the environment was “considered one of euphoria and celebration”.

Head lady Annalee Macfarlane will subsequent yr start a level apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce and Warwick college, after securing prime grades in maths, physics and chemistry.

Nevertheless, college admissions confirmed a near-record variety of college students gained a spot at their most well-liked universities this yr, in response to knowledge launched by UCAS, the college and school admissions service, on Thursday.

Kath Thomas, interim chief govt of JCQ, mentioned the figures had been a “enormous milestone” in Britain’s restoration from the Covid disaster. “As meant, these outcomes are increased than the final set of summer time exams in 2019, however decrease than final yr’s teacher-assessed grades,” she mentioned.

In recognition of final yr’s document grade inflation, and to compensate for the disruption to studying throughout successive lockdowns, college students got help supplies akin to advance data on topics or equation sheets in exams.

Genevieve Boateng, left, with a buddy Kirsti Jones © Toby Melville/Reuters

At Harris Metropolis Academy Crystal Palace in London, Genevieve Boateng obtained a suggestion from Manchester to check drugs, whereas her buddy Kirsti Jones will research veterinary drugs on the College of Cambridge. “I feel it was probably the most aggravating factor I’ve accomplished in my life it was actually aggressive,” she mentioned.

Ofqual, England’s examination regulator, in September introduced it could repair grade distributions at a “midpoint” between these of final yr and pre-pandemic ranges.

Nevertheless, figures on Thursday confirmed the proportion of prime grades this yr was barely nearer to the document highs of the previous two years than 2019.

Pupils taking BTECs, vocational {qualifications} which might be taken in school or faculty, may also obtain their outcomes on Thursday, as will these sitting the federal government’s new T-Stage exams, which concentrate on employment expertise, for the primary time.

Andrew Ormroyd and Joseph Scott, pictured holding their exam results
Andrew Ormroyd, left, and Joseph Scott © Chris Sales space

At Queen Elizabeth Sixth Kind School in Darlington in north-east England, Joseph Scott was predicted three A*s, however didn’t achieve a suggestion from his most well-liked college decisions, which he mentioned was a “proper kick within the tooth”.

However he used clearing to safe a spot at Northumbria College to check enterprise administration after gaining prime grades in enterprise, regulation and geography. His buddy Andrew Ormroyd will research maths at St Andrews college.

“College students particularly needed an opportunity to show themselves,” mentioned Jo Saxton, chief regulator of Ofqual. “As we speak’s outcomes are a testomony to their exhausting work and resilience.”

UCAS mentioned that 19 per cent extra 18-year-olds had been accepted to their agency or insurance coverage selection of college in contrast with 2019.

The supply charge mirrored a extra cautious strategy from universities, lots of which made fewer gives with a purpose to stabilise pupil numbers after two years of document admissions.

Claire Marchant, chief govt of UCAS, mentioned this led to a extra “exact” admissions cycle, with many college students and universities making selections about locations forward of outcomes day.

Nevertheless, she added that whereas many had been celebrating, some college students can be upset. UCAS figures confirmed 20,360 college students came upon they didn’t have the next schooling place on Thursday, down from 24,360 in 2019.

Marchant suggested this group to “take benefit” of clearing, which is able to happen over the approaching days and weeks as college students apply for a spot on considered one of 27,000 programs not but stuffed.

“This yr has seen a development within the variety of 18-year-olds within the inhabitants, which is able to proceed for the rest of the last decade, and creates a extra aggressive surroundings for college kids within the years to come back,” she mentioned.

Extra reporting by Ella Hollowood.

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