A-levels fall from record highs as exams return

A-level results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have fallen from the record levels of the past two years as exam assessments have returned to pre-coronavirus pandemic standards.

About 36.4 per cent of A-level assessments this year were graded between A* and A, according to figures released by the Joint Qualifications Committee on Thursday.

rate below reached 44.8% Teacher assessments replaced formal exams last year, but up from 25.4% in 2019.

Pass rate drops marked boot return Pre-pandemic assessments of academic and vocational qualifications put students under increasing pressure to meet their university offers after a two-year hiatus in education due to the pandemic.

However, university admissions showed a near-record number of students securing a place at their preferred university this year, according to figures released on Thursday by UCAS, the university and college admissions service.

JCQ interim chief executive Kath Thomas said the figures were a “huge milestone” in Britain’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. “As expected, these scores are higher than the final set of summer exams in 2019, but lower than last year’s teacher assessment scores,” she said.

In recognition of last year record inflationand to compensate for the disruption to learning during the continuous lockdown, students were given support materials such as advance information on subjects or equations in exams.

Ofqual, England’s exams regulator, announced in September that it would fix the distribution of grades at a “middle point” between last year and pre-pandemic levels.

However, data on Thursday showed that compared to 2019, the proportion of seniors this year was slightly closer to the record highs of the past two years.

Students taking BTECs (vocational qualifications obtained at university or school) will also receive their results on Thursday, as will those taking the government’s new T-Level exam for the first time, which focuses on employability skills .

“Students especially want the opportunity to prove themselves,” said Ofqual’s chief regulator, Jo Saxton. “Today’s results are a testament to their hard work and resilience.”

UCAS said there was a 19 per cent increase in the number of 18-year-olds being accepted by their company or insurance university of choice compared to 2019.

Acceptance rates reflect a more cautious approach by universities, many of which have reduced admissions to stabilize student numbers after two years of record admissions.

UCAS chief executive Claire Marchant said this had led to a more “precise” admissions cycle, with many students and universities deciding places ahead of results day.

However, she added that while many are celebrating, some students will be disappointed. UCAS figures showed 20,360 students found they were not in higher education on Thursday, down from 24,360 in 2019.

Marchant advised the group to “take advantage” of the liquidation, which will take place in the days and weeks ahead, as students apply to one of 27,000 courses that have not yet filled.

“There has been an increase in the 18-year-old population this year, which will continue into the rest of the decade and create a more competitive environment for students in the years to come,” she said.

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