Image: The Boar

A-level results day 2023: results back to pre-Covid levels with steepest drop in England

Hundreds of thousands of students have received their much awaited A-level results today. This year’s results returned to pre-pandemic levels following government directives. The proportion of A*-A grades in England fell from 35.9% in 2022 to 26.5%.

In contrast, 37.5% of students in Northern Ireland and 34% of students in Wales received A*-A grades. Much more than grades is at stake, however, as students are also finding out if they meet the offer to study at their chosen university.

Every year, clearing matches more than 70,000 students with university places

In this regard, 79% of students met the conditional offer for their first-choice university according to UCAS. This is a 2.6% drop compared to last year.

Those who are unlucky enough to be unsatisfied with their results can opt to go through the Clearing process. Every year, Clearing matches more than 70,000 students with university places.

Some concerns have been raised regarding the steep fall in grades in England, which includes a 10% increase in E or U (unclassified) grades compared to 2019. Headteachers have raised the alarm surrounding the increase in the proportion of low grades, expressing discontent with the grading system.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan responded to the results by noting: “They won’t ask you anything about your A-level grades in 10 years’ time. They will ask you about other things you have done since then: what you have done in the workplace, what you did at university.” Keegan’s remarks were condemned as being “rude and dismissive” by Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson.

8.6% of grades awarded in England were A*s, barely half of the 14.5% figure recorded last year, but still more than the 7.7% in 2019. 

The North-South divide still plays a heavy role in grade distribution, with there being an 8% gap between the percentage of students awarded top marks in South-East England and the North-East. 

The Head of Ofqual, Jo Saxton, came out in defense of the decrease in grades: “… these results are above those of 2019 so these students have absolutely had the protection that they deserve, given everything they went through.

The University of Warwick has welcomed its new cohort of undergraduates on Twitter and has opened its Clearing hotline: “Good news! Our Clearing hotline is now available. If you’d like to join Warwick, please call us now on 02476 533 544.”


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