No major change in A Level results
A level results saw “no major change” today, with a very minor 0.1 percentage point increase in the overall pass rate.
By subject, however, there were some more noticeable differences. As reported earlier, Further Maths saw the biggest jump in the number of A*s awarded to this year’s cohort – taking it up to 29 per cent achieving the top grade.
Overall results this summer for AS and A level are very stable, with only small changes in the proportions achieving each grade. These small changes are a result of normal variation.
Changes in the subject choices at A level reflect an ongoing shift towards more traditional subjects.
Changes made to French, German and Spanish assessments appear to have had the anticipated impact on the proportion of A* grades awarded, although in German the overall proportion is reduced due to a weaker cohort overall.
· the proportion achieving A* is unchanged from 2014, at 8.2%
· the proportion achieving A* and A is down 0.1 percentage points to 25.9%
· the proportion achieving A* to E is up 0.1 percentage points to 98.1%
· the proportion achieving A is up 0.3 percentage points to 20.2%
· the proportion achieving A-E is up 0.6 percentage points to 89.4%
· For individual subjects, the changes in the proportions of students achieving each grade are likely to be due to shifts in entry patterns between subjects as well as normal variation between years.
The trend towards more students entering ‘traditional’ subjects will affect the ability profile of the cohort entering these subjects, and is likely to be one of the reasons for the small changes in the proportion of students at each grade.
Modern foreign languages: French, German and Spanish
In recent years, teachers and other stakeholders have raised concerns about how few students achieve the top grades in the modern foreign language (MFL) A levels, compared to other A level subjects, and whether the right students were being awarded these top grades. In response to these concerns, we conducted an in-depth analysis of the design and working of the exam questions in A level French, German and Spanish. We required exam boards to make changes to their question papers and mark schemes for the 2015 exams. In general these seem to have led to an increase in the proportion of students achieving an A* grade, with the proportion of students achieving A* increasing by 1.5 percentage points in French and by 0.4 percentage points in Spanish. In German the overall proportion of A* grades is lower than 2014 because of changes in the profile of the cohort.