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It’s been a rollercoaster few years for English A-level scholars. The consequences had been according to assessments till 2019; trusted an set of rules in 2020, which ended in primary controversy and a U-turn; then switched to trainer review in 2021 after which again to assessments for 2022.

Then again, scholars have come all the way down to earth with a bump after the federal government sought to rein in grade inflation. This yr’s grades have fallen sharply from 2021’s height, although they aren’t as little as the ones from the ultimate related examination yr, 2019.

However what else did we be informed from this yr’s effects?

1 Thoughts the distance

To opposite the cliche, a falling tide lowers all boats. This yr’s examination effects had been down when compared with the ones from 2021, without reference to the type of college a scholar attended, however everybody did higher than in 2019.

The assessments diminished the distance between impartial scholars and their state-school opposite numbers however didn’t shut it.

The attainment hole between independents and state faculties narrowed this yr when compared with 2021 however is greater than in 2019

Nearly 3 in 5 non-public, fee-paying scholars (58%) accomplished both an A* or an A, when compared with 35% of the ones attending academies and 30.7% of the ones in state comprehensives. Whilst that could be a smaller hole than in 2021, it’s worse than in 2019.

2 The regional divide

Whilst the distance between areas isn’t as stark as the distance between college varieties, disparities stay.

In each and every area grades dropped yr on yr, however they greater when compared with 2019. Then again, whilst just about 40% of scholars sitting their assessments within the south-east and London – the 2 maximum prosperous English areas – accomplished A* or A grades this yr, the similar used to be true of simply 31% of the ones sitting assessments within the north-east.

Nearly 40% of scholars within the south-east and London accomplished A* or A grades this yr, when compared with 31% of the ones within the north-east

So whilst the distance between the north-east and London used to be fairly lower than 4 proportion issues in 2019, it’s now 8.2 issues (the north-east/south-east hole grew from 5.3 issues to eight.7 issues over the similar length).

3 Whither the English scholars in England?

English is much less widespread than it as soon as used to be in England. English literature, the most well liked of the 3 English topics, has fallen out of doors the Most sensible 10 most well liked topics for the primary time since its creation in 2017 (geography additionally fell out of doors the Most sensible 10 in England this yr although throughout the United Kingdom it’s the tenth most well liked matter).

English literature has fallen out of the highest 10 most well liked topics in England for the primary time Most sensible 10 most well liked A-level topics in England, ranked via recognition

Whilst the selection of scholars taking English has fallen (19,814 fewer this yr when compared with 2017) the quantity taking psychology has grown sharply (an building up of 18,858 from 2017 to give). Sociology has additionally grown in recognition; in 2017 it simply made the Most sensible 10, but it surely rocketed up the charts to grow to be the 5th most well liked matter amongst A-level scholars in England this yr.

Economics attracted greater than 35,000 scholars in England in 2022, bringing it into the Most sensible 10 for the primary time.

4 Stem up, humanities down

The English phenomenon is a part of a broader development against science, era, engineering and arithmetic (Stem). The selection of scholars taking Stem topics – biology, chemistry, computing, design and era, arithmetic, physics and “different sciences” – rose via 3.5% when compared with in 2019.

Conversely, the ones opting for humanities topics – the 3 English A-levels, geography and historical past – dropped via 3.3% in the similar length.


The rise is maximum notable in computing, with 43% extra scholars taking this matter when compared with 2019. And although computing nonetheless draws fewer ladies than maximum Stem topics, in each absolute and proportional phrases, the ones numbers are rising. This yr, the selection of ladies sitting the examination hit 2,000 for the primary time, or 15.2% of the overall.

5 Checking out instances for ladies

The go back to an exam-based marking machine has favoured boys. Whilst girls and boys noticed their grades drop considerably, ladies fared worse on the subject of grade deflation. Throughout all topics in England, 44.3% of scholars accomplished an A grade or above ultimate yr; that fell again to 35.9% this yr, an 8.4 proportion level drop.

Then again ladies’ grades fell additional, down via 9.5 proportion issues when compared with seven amongst boys.

The share of ladies getting an A grade or above in England fell via 9.5 proportion issues when compared with a seven-point drop amongst boys

When compared with 2019, the highest grades have greater for each sexes. The share of ladies getting an A or above used to be 11.8 proportion issues upper in 2022 when compared with 2019; for boys there used to be a 9.5 proportion level building up.


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