A-LEVEL RESULTS: Boys reverse gender gap with top grades

Charlie Warburton, 4A*s, Ben Foster, 2A*s and 2As, Josh Worrall, 3A*s and a C, and Jacob Hall, 3A*s and an A, at Blackpool Sixth Form College
Charlie Warburton, 4A*s, Ben Foster, 2A*s and 2As, Josh Worrall, 3A*s and a C, and Jacob Hall, 3A*s and an A, at Blackpool Sixth Form College

The proportion of A-level students scoring the highest grades has risen for the first time in six years, although figures suggest a major government overhaul of exams is having an impact on results.

Boys emerged as the winners in this summer’s results, pulling ahead of girls in terms of A*-A grades for the first time in almost two decades.

National figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland show more than one in four (26.3 per cent) A-level entries scored an A* or A this summer, up 0.5 percentage points on 2016.

It is the first time the A*-A pass rate has risen since 2011.

The increase comes amid major changes to the qualifications with a move away from coursework and modular exams throughout the course in England, as well as the decoupling of AS-levels, making them more challenging for students.

While the A*-A pass-rate has risen, there has been a drop in top results among the first 13 subjects to be overhauled in England, statistics from the Joint Council of Qualifications (JCQ) show.

When comparing 18-year-olds’ results for these subjects, the proportion of A* grades for these courses is down 0.5 percentage points to 7.2 per cent from last year, A*-A grades have dropped 0.7 percentage points to 24.3 per cent and A*-E results have fallen 0.5 percentage points to 98.1 per cent.

The 13 reformed subjects are art and design, biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, English language, English language and literature, English literature, history, physics, psychology and sociology.

Speaking about schools’ achievement on the Fylde coast, Gordon Marsden, Blackpool South MP, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Skills, said: “The results show incredible dedication from the students and also their teachers and families who support them.

“They have done particularly well to deal with the complex situation since the changes to A-levels were made.”

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