Despite the unprecedented circumstances, grades have remained broadly stable with a 2.5 percentage point rise in A and A* grades at A level, and a 0.7 percentage point rise in overall passes (A*-E), helping students take their next step.
This year’s results reflect the robust grading system implemented by Ofqual after exams were cancelled to prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep schools, colleges and wider communities safe.
Results show the right balance has been achieved of making sure students receive the grades they deserve, while being fair to students studying at different schools and colleges across the country through standardisation.
As a result, this year’s AS, A level and vocational and technical qualification results will hold the same value for universities, colleges and employers, with students able to progress to the next stage of their education or training as they would in any other year.
Statistics published today show:
98.3% received grades A* to E at A level, up from 97.6% in 2019
Increase in As and A*s awarded at A level, up from 25.5% in 2019 to 27.9%
Maths remains the most popular subject at A level with a 2.5% increase in entries this year; entries for 18-year-olds increased by 7.7%
Entries for English A level increased by 1.8% despite a decrease in cohort size
Computing saw an 11.7% increase in entries, with more girls taking up the subject
A record number of 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in England have been accepted into university – up 7.3% from last year
Almost 60% of grades received by students are exactly the same as those submitted by schools and colleges
96.4% of grades were either the same as the one submitted by schools or colleges or only changed by one grade.
Results for vocational and technical qualifications are broadly in line with previous years
Whilst the grading system is robust, earlier this week the Government announced a new ‘triple lock’ process for exam results to give young people added security and make sure the system is fair to all students.
Students can accept the calculated grade received today, appeal to receive a valid mock result or sit an exam in the autumn. The triple lock will provide an important safety net for the minority of cases where students feel that the calculated grades do not reflect their achievements.
Schools are also able to appeal if they believe their historic data does not reflect the ability of their current students.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
‘Receiving your results is always a huge moment, particularly this year after the disruption caused by coronavirus and the uncertainty that came with it, and I hope all students can take pride in their achievements.
‘I know how difficult it was for students to find out that they were unable to sit an exam. It wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly.
‘The majority of young people will have received a calculated grade today that enables them to progress to the destination they deserve, with the added safety net of being able to appeal on the basis of their mock results, as well as the chance of sitting autumn exams, thanks to our triple lock process to ensure confidence and fairness in the system.
‘I want to congratulate all students, and thank parents, teachers and everyone involved in education for their contribution to making sure all of our young people are able to progress with the next stage of their lives.’
The number of A-Level students getting A or A* grades has increased by 2.4%.
Despite this, the deficit created by the algorithm assessment implemented by Ofqual this year means that a shocking 39% of pupils are set to receive grades lower than predicted. This means that 330,000 of the A-Levels awarded today are expected to be lower than teachers’ estimations.
As many A-Level students are left exasperated by how their results have been calculated, the UK’s leading online tutoring service, MyTutor, has explored the effect that socio-economic class has on education in new nationally representative research.
- 27% agree that the quality of education they received prevented them from reaching my full potential and as a result, held them back in their career
- 20% of people agree that their education prevented them from moving up the socio-economic ladder
- 22% agree that they didn’t have sufficient access to learning resources, a good standard of teaching and access to opportunities to further their education in the area that they grew up in
- 24% agree that their socio-economic class affected their performance in school
- 26% agree that through no fault of their own, their parents couldn’t provide them with the level of education to give them the best start in life
- 36% didn’t have teacher encouraging them to go into higher education
- Only 17% had encouragement to go into a STEM field, with 64% not having this experience whilst in school
- Only 17% of people had access to one-to-one learning at school, with 72% not having this experience
For students who are not satisfied with their final grades, the option to sit makeup exams in the Autumn is a vital fallback. With schools firmly closed until September, how can pupils get ahead in the critical prep time ahead?
With many predicted to lean towards private tutoring as a much needed support system, easily accessible and affordable solutions are vital for the nation’s pending undergraduates, many of which may have had their dream of attending the university of choice crushed today.
Bertie Hubbard, Co-Founder and CEO of MyTutor, the UK’s leading online tutoring platform, has commented on the effects of social class highlighted in the research.
“There has been a long history of regional differences, and the government is now looking to address this as part of the recent pledge to “level up” Britain.
There is a real opportunity gap here, and one that technology is well-placed to help close. By empowering schools and parents with more cost-effective and convenient ways to support their children, such as online tutoring, access is no longer such a barrier to success.
As this support structure moves online, the North-South divide can be bridged to give every child the opportunity to achieve both in and outside of the classroom, having a positive effect on the rest of their lives.”