Monthly Archives: August 2023

A Level Results 2023

You will, no doubt, have heard in the media that 2023 has marked a return to sanity in regard to A Levels, reversing the preposterous grade inflation in 2020, 2021 and 2022 which came about due to basing awards on teachers’ assessments, unmoderated. Last year, 2022, the policy to take a “half-way position” was adopted (because, apparently, being only 50% nonsense is OK). Peak-nonsense was attained in 2021. I refer you to my previous posts A Level Awards 2022, A Level Awards 2021 and Their Obfuscation, State Education Dying, Dying….Dead? and A Levels 2020: The Year of Utter Nonsense.

So, is it true that sanity has been restored? Broadly, yes it is.

Data has been taken from Brian Stubbs’ site.

Table 1 below shows the results for the top A* and A grades (wherein the inflation occurred) comparing this year with 2021 and with the pre-Covid years 2019 and 2010. The percentage of pupils, of either sex, gaining A* or A grades this year (2023) is larger than in 2019, but only to a reasonable degree. Admittedly, the percentage being awarded A* is larger than in any previous year (barring 2020-22), for both sexes.

A larger percentage of boys than girls were awarded the top A* grade, as they were in 2019, though this has varied over the years.

However, substantially more girls than boys take A Levels and this has been the case for several decades. Consequently, in terms of actual numbers, there are considerably more girls being awarded A* and A grades in all years.

Table 2 illustrates the gender-bias effect of the nonsense years, showing the excess of A* and A awards to girls over those to boys. In “sensible” years this has been around 20,000 to 26,000, whereas in peak-nonsense (2021) it reached 57,504. This implies that, in 2021, perhaps around 34,000 excess A* or A awards were made to girls over those to boys purely as a result of the bias introduced by using teachers’ assessments. Similar but smaller excess awards of top grades to girls would have occurred in 2020 and 2022.

YearSexpercentage of same sexnumber
Table 1: Top A* and A grades awarded by sex, various years compared
Table 2: Excess of girls over boys awarded A* and A grades