A-level results: Number of top grades rise for first time in six years & boys do better than girls

Boys have surpassed their female peers in gaining A and A* grades, and the number of top grades achieved overall has gone up for the first time in years.  

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This A-level results day, boys have done better than girls in gaining A and A* grades

This A-level results day, boys have done better than girls in gaining A and A* grades, and the proportion of top marks awarded at A-level has risen for the first time in six years.

The published national results of 2017’s exams show that in the bulk of subjects the proportion of A and A* grades awarded went up to 26.3%, a rise of half a percentage point compared with 2016.

But students taking the new group of tougher reformed exam subjects (sat for the first time this summer) such as English, history and sciences saw their chances of top grades go down. A and A*s went down in these subjects by 0.7% compared with 2016.

Experts from the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) – which represents the exam boards – told the Guardian it was “not possible to draw accurate conclusions at this stage” for the different directions of the two groups of A-levels, but said the results could be influenced by a weaker track record among this year’s students taking individual subjects.

Overall, for the first time in at least seven years, boys outperformed girls in achieving A-A* grades, gaining 26.6% A and A*, compared with 26.1% for girls. Last year 25.7% of boys were awarded A and A*s – 0.3 points below girls.

Overall, for the first time in at least seven years, boys outperformed girls in achieving A-A* grades, gaining 26.6% A and A*, compared with 26.1% for girls. Last year 25.7% of boys were awarded A and A*s – 0.3 points below girls.

Overall though, the pass rate in A*-E grades fell 0.2 points to 97.9%.

There were big increases in the top grades awarded to students taking modern foreign languages, with A and A*s rising by 2.5% in Spanish and 1.8% in German and 1.7% in French – after years of complaints that the exams were graded too harshly.

The improved performance came after the exam regulator in England, Ofqual, adjusted the proportion of top grades awarded to candidates, following research showing that native speakers taking the subjects had skewed the results.

 

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