UK/August 19, 2022/By: Ofqual/Source: https://www.gov.uk/
First summer exams since 2019 – this year’s grades explained.
Students sitting exams and formal assessments this summer have shown incredible resilience, and today we celebrate their success. To recognise the disruption that they have experienced, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Ofqual made arrangements with the Department for Education and exam boards to put in place an unprecedented package of support for students.
This support included some changes to coursework to reflect public health restrictions in place at the time students were doing their assessments. Exam boards published advance information in February which gave information about some of the topics that would be in the exams. This was intended to help students to focus their revision and make the exams feel less daunting.
For all subjects, there has been lenient grading, reflecting a staging post between 2021 and 2019 grades.
Dr Jo Saxton, Chief Regulator, said:
The class of 2022 can be so proud of what they have achieved. Since September I have visited dozens of schools and colleges up and down the country and the overwhelming message from students and teachers was that they wanted exams to take place. Students in particular wanted a chance to prove themselves. Today’s results are a testament to their hard work and resilience.
Today’s results are higher than those of 2019, and – as we have always said – lower than in 2021, when there was a different method of assessment. It makes sense to compare this year’s results with those of 2019 when exams were last sat. I felt strongly that it would not have been right to go straight back to pre-pandemic grading in one go but accept that we do need to continue to take steps back to normality. These results overall, coming as they do broadly midway between 2021 and 2019, represent a staging post on that journey.
- This is the first summer exam series since 2019. Today’s results should not be compared to 2020 or 2021, because of the different methods of assessment.
- Overall A level results are higher than in 2019. Outcomes at grade A are 35.9% compared with 25.2% in 2019, and outcomes at grade B and above are 62.2% compared with 51.1% in 2019.
- Overall AS results are higher than in 2019. Outcomes at grade A are 25.2% compared to 20.1% in 2019. Entries for AS have fluctuated in recent years, making it much more difficult to interpret any changes.
Today (18 August 2022) we are publishing:
- a summary of results (below)
- infographics about this year’s A level results
- interactive visualisations of outcomes by centre type, variability in school and college A level results, A level outcomes in England and an interactive map of England showing A level results in different subjects by grade and county
As in a typical year, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has published results in England for AS and A level, overall and by subject. These results are also shown in our interactive visualisation.
Centre type results
Ofqual has updated its interactive visualisation to show A level results for different types of school and college compared to previous years, overall and by subject. The centre type categories are based on the national centre register (NCN) and are self-reported by centres.
Overall results for all types of schools and colleges are higher than in 2019 at grade A and above. The extent to which outcomes have changed relative to 2019 is likely, in part, to reflect longstanding differences in the pattern of results for different centre types. This summer results will also reflect any differential impact of the pandemic.
Cumulative percentage outcomes by centre type – grade A and above
|Sixth form college||22.0||35.3||31.9|
Ofqual’s interactive visualisation shows the level of variation in schools’ and colleges’ A level results compared to 2019. We know that, in any year, individual schools and colleges may see variation in the proportion of students achieving particular grades compared to previous years. This can be due to many different factors, including differences in the mix of students entered for particular qualifications, different teaching approaches, changes in teaching staff or teaching time, and changes to qualifications. This year, the approach to grading is also more lenient than pre-pandemic.
In general, there is more variation in centres’ results. This is not surprising, given that comparisons are being made over a longer time period (3 years). Our interactive visualisation allows users to explore variation in centres’ results for different age groups and sizes of centres.
Now that results have been issued, Ofqual will be repeating the equalities analyses we published in 2020 and 2021. It was not possible for us to complete this analysis ahead of results being issued, because final data from exams is only available very close to results days. We will publish this as soon as we can, in the autumn.
In 2020 and 2021, this analysis considered whether the gaps between the results for different groups of students, which are observed in years when exams go ahead, had changed. This summer the same assessment arrangements have applied to all students. Any changes in the differences in outcomes for students with different protected characteristics are likely due to other factors, such as the impact of the pandemic.
Exam boards have set grade boundaries this summer based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative evidence. As in previous years when exams took place, there has been an important role for examiner judgement in reviewing the quality of students’ work.
In general, grade boundaries are lower this summer than in 2019. This is not surprising given the lenient approach to grading. Not all grade boundaries are lower than 2019 though, since the position of the boundaries also reflects the difficulty of the assessment.