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At last, the day finally arrived last week when the nervous wait was over for the 300,000 + students awaiting their A-Level results.  Congratulations to all those who worked so hard and achieved their A-Level results!

The front pages across the UK were swamped with this year’s latest results numbers and statistics revealing some very interesting figures.

What did the 2013 A-Level results show?

  • There was a fall in the proportion of A-Levels awarded top grades.  According to the BBC News Website, 26.3% of grades were given an A* or A result, down in comparison to 2012’s figure of 26.6%.
  • The overall pass rate rose to 98.1%, an increase of 0.1% (BBC News, 2013).
  • There has been a decline in the number of students studying languages at A-Level; French and German dropped by 10% and 11% respectively, however Spanish opposed this trend and increased by 4%, (London Evening Standard, 2013).
  • A gender divide is growing in the subjects studied at A-Level – 70% of English A-Levels this year were taken by girls whilst 80% of Physics exams were taken by boys, (London Evening Standard, 2013).
  • There were 24,000 more entries for the sciences this year than in 2009. Physics, Chemistry and Biology accounted for almost 18% of all A-Levels sat this year, and Maths and Further Maths accounted for 12%, (London Evening Standard, 2013).
  • Boys are outperforming girls in A* grades, however girls outperformed boys on A grades, (The Guardian, 2013).

A-Level Reform

This year's A-Level results have brought to the forefront the controversial decision of the government to reform A-Levels.

According to Ofqual, (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation), the series of A-Level reforms will take place over the next few years.  

The reforms will include:

  • Changes to the structure of the qualification.
  • The introduction of a standalone AS Level.
  • Arrangements of the involvement of higher education in future A-Level design.

This will result in changes such as; an AS Level not contributing towards the final grade of an A-Level, as well as examinations for A-Levels taking place at the end of the course, rather than at the end of each year of study; and curriculum content for subjects being reviewed. The first of the new A-Levels will be introduced for teaching in schools from September 2015, with first exams being sat in 2017, and these changes will initially take place to subjects most commonly required for undergraduate study; maths and further maths, English (literature); physics; biology; chemistry; geography; history; and languages (modern and classical). 

Furthermore, these reforms are currently underway in England, however Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to clarify whether they will also modify their A-Levels. 

Supporters of the reforms had voiced concerns that the current A-Levels are focused too heavily on assessment rather than learning, and that breaking down A-levels into bite-size assessments has undermined standards, making it easier to achieve top grades.  However opponents, including many teachers' unions and private school leaders have said that the implementation would see results decline overall and a reduction in the take-up of more difficult subjects.  In addition, opponents are concerned that talented but less confident students would be more reluctant to apply.

Useful Websites

Ofqual  - provides a concise summary to the A-Level reforms.

The Guardian - an informative website with plenty of information on A-Levels and the clearing process.

BBC News - - again another great website for all the latest figures and statistics on 2013 A-Level results.

Where I’m at . . . I am back from the summer camp working with children who have been separated from their siblings by the care system and had an amazing time!  It was lovely seeing directly the impact that the camp had on the siblings and all the new memories they were building and sharing together.