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A-levels: Wales top grades dip after exams return



Top grades at A-level have dipped since 2021, after pupils sat summer exams for the first time in three years.

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However, more than 40.9% of grades were A* and A, still well up on the pre-Covid pandemic figure for 2019, when exams were last held.

Thousands of pupils have been receiving AS levels, Welsh Bacc and vocational results, including BTec.

Watchdog Qualifications Wales said grading had been more generous to reflect a "most extraordinary" period.

This year's results follow two years when grades were awarded based on teacher assessments due to the pandemic.

They show:

  • 17.1% of all results were at the highest A* grade, compared with 21.3% in 2021 and 8.9% in 2019
  • 30.7% of AS grades issued were grade A and 92.7% were A-E
  • 6.4% of Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate grades in the Welsh
  • A-levels saw 85.3% awarded A* to C grades, compared with 89.2% in 2021 - but up from 76% in 2019
  • 98% were awarded A* to E, compared with 97.3% in 2019
  • The total number of A-level exam entries in Wales this year was 35,499, a decrease of 1.0% from 2021
  • Entries for history, psychology and physical education were up.
  • Mathematics saw the biggest fall in entries, down 310, but it is still the most popular A-level subject with 3,796 entries
  • Entries for English literature, chemistry and Welsh first and second language were also down
  • Girls outperform boys at A* and A by 0.5 percentage points although boys outperform girls by 1.8% at the very top A* grades
  • At the A* and A grades, Wales is ahead again of the UK average and has a higher proportion than every region of England, although it is behind Northern Ireland.

A-level results: More coverage
This year's system was designed to bridge the "grade inflation" of 2021 with "normal" grading in 2019.

"Returning to pre-pandemic assessment arrangements was always going to be a big task," said Qualifications Wales chief executive Philip Blaker.

"We know that learners were anxious about the return to exams, but overall, the exam series has gone well, which is an incredible achievement for everyone involved."

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