A-level grades surge to record high after exams cancelled for second year

The proportion of A-level entries awarded an A grade or higher has risen to an all-time high after exams were cancelled for the second year in a row due to Covid-19.

In total, more than two in five (44.8%) of UK entries were awarded an A or A* grade this summer – up by 6.3 percentage points on last year when 38.5% achieved the top grades.

Hundreds of thousands of students have been given grades determined by teachers, rather than exams, with pupils only assessed on what they have been taught during the pandemic.

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Girls performed better than boys at the top grades, and female maths students overtook boys for the first time in the number of A* grades achieved, figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland show.

Overall, the proportion of entries awarded the top A* grade this year has surged to 19.1% – the highest proportion since the top grade was first introduced in 2010.

According to an analysis by Ofqual, some 6.9% of students in England were awarded three A*s this year – compared with 4.3% in 2020 and 1.6% in 2019.