A Level results day

Thousands of students across Wales will receive their A Level results today. Last year there were over 37,150 examination entries, with 97.6% resulting in grades A* to E.

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Gap with England widens

The figures released by the WJEC and other exam boards show the overall A level pass rate has stabilised in Wales after a period of decline. It's the same picture for the top A* grade but the percentage of candidates getting A* or A has fallen again. Here's what's happened in Wales in 2012 and 2013:

  • A*-E: Last year 97.6% This year 97.6%
  • A*-A: Last year 23.6% This year 22.9%
  • A*: Last year 6.0% This year 6.0%

The gap continues to grow between Welsh A level candidates's performance and the overall results for the three UK countries that use the examination. (Scotland has its own exam system). That's true on almost every measure, including both the overall A-E pass rate and for candidates getting A* or A.

  • A*-E: Wales 97.6% (+0.0%) England, Wales & NI 98.1% (+0.1%)
  • A*: Wales 6.0% (+0.0%) England, Wales & NI 7.6% (-0.3%)
  • A*-A: Wales 22.9% (-0.7%) England, Wales & NI 26.3% (-0.3%)
  • A*-B: Wales 49.3% (-0.6%) England, Wales & NI 52.9% (+0.3%)
  • A*-C: Wales 75.2% (+0.2%) England, Wales & NI 77.2% (+0.6%)

There is no agreed explanation for why there's a growing gap between performance in Wales and in England (which accounts for the vast majority of the the figures for the three countries).

England has more privately educated pupils, which might partially explain the gap but not why it's growing.

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