Rise in top grades despite tougher exams

A-level results day has seen the highest proportion of As and A*s awarded since 2012.

The Department for Education says that some 26.4 per cent of exams were awarded top grades this year, although the proportion awarded A* to C dropped slightly from 79 per cent to 78.4 per cent.

Despite restructuring of exams and marking systems, with coursework no longer included, 97.6 per cent of A-level entries were awarded A* to E grades. Students sat more challenging exams in 13 subjects last academic year, with 11 more following this year.

The data from this year's results also shows male students outperforming female students (26.6 per cent of boys were awarded an A or A*, compared with 26.2 per cent of girls), a trend that began last year for the first time since the turn of the millenium.

According to Ucas, a record 27.9 per cent of the 18-year-old population had been accepted onto university courses, with 411,860 students taking places this September so far. 

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