After the second year’s exam was canceled, A-level grades soared to a new record

After the exam was canceled by COVID-19 for the second consecutive year, the percentage of A-level entries awarded A grade or higher rose to a record high.

In total, more than two-fifths (44.8 percent) of UK entries were awarded A or A * grades this summer, an increase of 6.3 percentage points compared to last year when 38.5 percent achieved top grades. ..

In 2019, when the last test was conducted before the pandemic, only 25.5% of entries achieved A or higher.

Hundreds of thousands of students are given grades determined by teachers rather than exams, and students are only evaluated for what was taught during the pandemic.

As the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland figures show, girls performed better than boys in the highest grades, and female mathematics students overtook boys for the first time in the number of A * grades achieved.

Overall, the percentage of entries awarded the highest A * grade of the year surged to 19.1 percent, compared to 14.3 percent in 2020 and 7.8 percent in 2019.

A level graphics
A level graphic of a candidate who has been awarded the A * grade. (PA graphics)

On Tuesday, Ucas said a record number of students secured a place for their first-choice college course following the bumper year for results.

However, young people who miss the grades needed to meet the offer may face greater competition for the location of top institutions, as less courses may be offered for clearing.

The figures published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) cover A-level entries from students in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The results of Scottish High School were also announced on Tuesday.

Scottish school performance is consistently lower than last year, but has shown a sharp rise since 2019, before the pandemic.

In the case of Highers, the percentage of students received between A and C, known as the achievement rate, dropped from 89.3% to 87.3%, while the Advanced Higher achievement rate dropped from 93.1% to 90.2%.

However, while the higher qualification figures are well above the 2018-19 level of 75%, the percentage of Advanced Highers has increased from 80%.

This year, UK teachers submitted their student performance decisions after using a variety of evidence, including mock exams, coursework, and in-class assessments using exam committee questions.

According to Ofqual’s analysis, about 6.9% of UK students were awarded three A * this year, 4.3% in 2020 and 1.6% in 2019.

Secretary of Education Gavin Williamson defended this year’s results amid concerns about higher grades as he called on people to celebrate the success of young people during difficult years.

Jill Duffy, CEO of the OCR Examination Committee, reflects the fact that the higher the grade, the more “multiple opportunities” students have to show their knowledge and the less likely it is to have a “bad day” on the exam. I said that I am doing it.

She told the media briefing:

“But in this unusual year, fewer students may have had a bad day when they are evaluated, and they have many opportunities to show what they know and can do.

“And more than usual will achieve higher grades.”

Last summer, a blunder over grade evaluation caused thousands of A-level students to downgrade their results from school estimates with a controversial algorithm before Ofqual announced a U-turn.

This year, no algorithm was used to moderate the grade.

Instead, UK schools and universities were asked to provide a sample of the student’s work to the exam committee as part of a quality assurance (QA) check. They were also asked to provide evidence used to determine the grades of selected students.

After the grades were submitted, a random and targeted sample check of evidence was also conducted.

Ofqual said the work of students from 1,101 centers in the UK (about one of five schools and universities) was scrutinized by the examination committee.

For 85% of schools and universities where student work was scrutinized as part of a QA check, regulators are pleased with field experts that evidence supports the grades assessed by the teachers submitted. Said.

For the remaining 15%, professional discussions took place between external target experts and school and university teachers and curriculum leaders, with the Center reviewing and revising grades as needed.

According to test regulators, this represents less than 1 percent of all grades published on Tuesday.

However, Ofqual said at the time of writing the report, the Examination Committee was in continuous discussion with “a few centers” and the grades of these schools would be withheld if concerns were not resolved on the day of the results. ..

Williamson states that “employers can have real confidence” in the grades given to their students.

Regarding Sky News, the Secretary of Education said: “This is the culmination of 13 years of education, and I think we should be incredibly proud of their achievements and incredibly proud of the achievements they have achieved.”

Asked about concerns about improving performance, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

“But when we get out of this pandemic, we must be aware that we must take similar steps and take a glide path to return to a more normal situation.”

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of NAHT’s School Leaders’ Union, said:

The grades awarded in 2021 are an overall judgment based on the work created by the student.

“These evidence-based decisions are very different from the usual way in which grades are given throughout the exam.

“Students need to be confident that they are getting the grades they deserve and that they reflect the success criteria they have set.”

Jeff Burton, Executive Director of the School and University Leaders Association (ASCL), said: “It is important to understand that the system used to evaluate this year’s students is different from both the formal exam and the approach used last year. Attempts to standardize grades nationwide using algorithms When it fails and has to be abandoned.

“Therefore, a direct comparison with other years is very important and it is imperative to celebrate the achievements of this year’s cohort, which we have had to endure very much over the last 18 months.”

Eleanor Basby