A-level Results Day — The Verdict

This year I didn’t have any Year 13s, so I did not spend Thursday with my heart in my mouth. No, that will be me next Thursday for the GCSE results. So, this year I get to just be an observer. What did I see? Well, lots of ‘congratulations to everyone who got their A-level results today’. Everyone? I suppose it’s a nice sentiment, but unless everyone did fantastically, congratulating everyone is actually a rather empty sentiment. For many, congratulations is deserved. Over a quarter of entries got A or A*.

There are a lot of comparisons of statistics from last year and it’s actually really confusing looking at the different headlines. The Guardian says ‘Drop in students scoring C or above’ and their article has a very negative spin on the results, including in the summary that the pass rate has dropped and is the lowest since 2010. Last year was 97.9% and this year is 97.6%. It’s hardly jaw-dropping stuff. I think the BBC did a better job of just telling it like it is rather than trying to make headlines.

Another example of the Guardian trying to make headlines out of nothing:

Boys led girls in the top grades for the second year running. The proportion of boys who got A or higher was 26.6%, 0.4 percentage points higher than girls (26.2%).

It would be strange if it were exactly the same, and since the only option is girls or boys then boys leading girls by a small margin two years in a row doesn’t say much.

Considering the changes that have been made to the A-levels, it’s actually pretty amazing that things have remained so steady. A couple of things caught my eye:
1. Maths is the most popular A-level (go maths).
2. There was an increase in A-level physics entries amongst girls and girls slightly outperformed the boys. And by slightly I mean 71.5% of females achieved a C or above compared to 69.6% of males — which is a lot more significant than the 0.4 percentage points difference in girls and boys overall.

Note that I’m not trying to pick on the Guardian but the Guardian and the BBC are the main sources that come up when you search for A-level results day 2018 . . . and who looks any further down than the top hits, right?
Ofqual is probably the best to avoid any sensationalist bias. I thought 'aww man, this is going to be so boring to look through . . . ' but they actually have a pretty picture. Enjoy!

A-level Results Day 2018 infographic