Welcome to our feature on the A-Level results day 2021.
Our aim is to explain firstly, how A-level grades may switch to a numerical system in a reset of exams after the grade inflation of the pandemic.Secondly A-Level grade boundaries for EdExcel A-Levels and for AQA A-Levels.
The A-Level pass grades are A*, A, B, C, D and E. If you fail your exam, you get a U (meaning ungraded).
Government plans for A-Levels 2022
- Currently, A-levels in England are graded from A* to E, while GCSEs were changed from letters to a 9-1 system in 2017.
- The use of teacher-predicted grades last year led to substantial grade inflation. The proportion of A-level students getting an A or above jumping from 25 per cent in 2019 to 38 per cent, with a repitsimilar level of inflation is expeion expected in summer 2021’s A-Level results too.
- So, it is the DfE who determines whether it’s preferable to return to pre-pandemic A-Level 2022 grading.
- One A-Levels 2022 option is to reset the A-LEvel grading boudaries. Plus, switch to numerical grade for the 2022 A-Levels. These would then be a similar A-Level grading system to that now in use for GCSEs.
- Given the grade inflation experienced in recent years, the currentalphabetical grades are causing confusion about the value of each grade. He relative value of the same subject’s A-Level grade depends upon the school year students received their results.. Plus, the DfE’s rationale is to tighten A-Level standards.
How are the 2021 A-Level grades set?
- Every year, exam boards draw up a system to decide what grade everyone will get.
- A grade boundary is a minimum mark you would need to get that grade.
- These are only decided after all the exams have been marked. Grade boundaries are set for each exam, depending on how difficult it turned out to be for the candidates. This means students are not penalised with poor grades if their exam was especially hard.
- Senior examiners compare completed exam papers from this year with those from last year so they can maintain a similar standard. They then decide a minimum mark for each grade. Each student’s grade can then be worked out.
- Grade boundaries for A and E are set first, then the others slotted in at equal intervals.
What happens if school and exam board cannot agree on grades?
- Then A Level results may be withheld or delayed.
- At 2021’s third stage of quality assurance, A Level exam boards will conduct both random and targeted checks on the evidence used to determine teacher assessed grades.
- JCQ’s recent guidance on A Level grade determination noted that a board will decide whether to accept the grades submitted or undertake further review, which “may lead to the withholding of results”.
- The system that is used to decide what’s written on your A-Level results sheet is based on grade boundaries.
AQA A-Level Teacher Assessment Guidance
- On-demand training: Mark scheme guidance
- Exampro Summer 2021: free shareable, editable questions [exampro.co.uk]
- Guidance on creating a range of evidence
A-Level 2021 trends
- Entries for A-Levels 2021 increase by 2 per cent – from 731,855 in 2020 to 756,230 in 2021.
- AS entries 2021 decrease Due to the impact of the move in 2015 to decouple AS-levels from A-levels.
- 53,300 AS-level entries in 2021 which was down 33 per cent from 86,970 in 2020.
- Since 2017, the number of AS-level entries has fallen by 91 per cent.
2021 A-level geography, 2021 A-Level law and 2021 A-Level computing entries increase
A-Level Results 2021