A-level results: Number of top grades in Wales falls following second year of exams after pandemic

Two students opening up their A-level results.
Students have received more lenient marking due to a phased return to pre-pandemic grades Credit: PA

The percentage of A* and A grades achieved by A-level students in Wales has fallen compared to last year's results.

As predicted following grade inflation during the Covid pandemic, 34% of grades were either an A or A*, compared with 40.9% last year.

This year's students are the second cohort to sit exams after they were cancelled in 2020 and 2021.

It comes as pupils find out whether they have made the grade to move onto their next steps, such as going to university, finding employment, or will have to rethink their plans.

It has been a nervous wait for students to see whether they have achieved the grades they want Credit: PA

13.5% of students achieved an A*, as almost 33,000 grades were awarded across Wales, with more than 97% being between an A* and an E.

Meanwhile, students have also received their AS level results - sat, typically, the year before final school exams.

25.5% of those results were an A, while 90.9% were an A to an E.

This year's results mark "the next step" back to pre-pandemic assessment arrangements, according to Qualifications Wales Chief Executive, Philip Blaker.

He added there was "some support in place for learners as we transition back to the usual processes [post-pandemic]."

Students were given results based on their predicted grades during the pandemic.

Prior to exams this year, students were given advanced information and there was a less stringent marking scheme in place than in 2019.

It means this year's results are "broadly midway" between those awarded in 2019 and 2022.

Education Minister Jeremy Miles said: “We know what a challenging time this has been. Our aim in providing  extra support this year was to make sure the exams were fair, despite the difficulties you’ve faced."

Talking about students who had not got the grades they want, he said: “For anyone who didn’t quite get the results you wanted, or you’re unsure of your next steps, don’t be too disappointed and don’t be too hard on yourself. There are lots of options open to you, including university clearing, apprenticeships, maybe starting your own business."

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