A-Level results and Gen Covid: How have students performed?

Aug 19, 2022 | Apprentices & school leaver, News

The A-Level results for Generation Covid have landed; ISE’s researcher Nicola Thomas rounds up the headlines.

  • This year saw the biggest ever drop in A-level grades following end of teacher assessments
  • Tens of thousands of students are battling for university places
  • Almost 40% of students are likely to use the ‘clearing system’ to get a place on a course
  • The Joint Council for Qualifications revealed today that the overall pass rate fell by 1.1% to 98.4% this year
  • Students receiving top grades of A* and A are down 8.4 points from last year
  • Girls continued to outperform boys overall, by .6%
  • The number of students accepted on to UK degree courses has fallen this year. Down 2% from last year
  • The number of students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to gain places this year is almost double compared to 2019

There’s been a significant moment as students who have had their education significantly impacted throughout the pandemic received their A-Level results.

Grades had been expected to drop back from levels seen last year when teachers assessed students. This transition year saw marks aiming to reflect the midway point between last year and 2019.

However, this year A-level grades took the biggest drop ever in the 70-yar history of the qualification.

UCAS, the admissions service, estimates that 40% of students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are thought to make use of the Clearing system to get a place on a course. 60,000 pupils are set to fall short of the grades needed for their chosen university course.

Students collecting their grades have faced enormous difficulties across the pandemic. With a difficult few years of education peppered with learning from home and competing against deferred places from last year.

Against the backdrop of these challenges, combined with soaring cost of living, the future of higher education could look very different.

The soaring cost of living means many students are considering either living at home or taking part-time employment to cover costs. First-year students also face university accommodation shortages, with undergraduates pushed to ‘predatory landlords’. Further, one in five teens plan to pursue apprenticeships over university in the future due to fears of student debt and a lack of job prospects.

The admission chief warned that A-Level results would not be pain free for students, with lower results expected and 40,000 students set to miss their university place of choice. This comes as the Education Secretary gave his backing for efforts to make the university system fairer. Ucas has also taken into account data on free school meals this year in offers for the first time as questions of equity, fairness and social mobility come front and center.

Considering the challenges faced by students over the last few years, a number of successful business owners are speaking up to encourage students who didn’t get the results they want. Expressing that the academic path is not the only route to success.


A-Level results: News roundup

3 things never to say to a teen who is disappointed with their A-Level results. Results are in and they are not what they’d hoped for. Imy Brighty-Potts talks to experts about dealing with this very sensitive time.

Studying through pandemic ‘a nightmare’, says pupil collecting A-level results

James Livesey, 18, will now take up a BBC apprenticeship in software engineering.

Students accepted on UK degree courses down on 2021 but second highest on record

In 2021, a record 435,430 people, from the UK and overseas, had places confirmed.

Agony and ecstasy for Generation Covid after biggest ever drop in top A-level grades following end of teacher assessments – leaving tens of thousands of students battling for university places

What are T-Levels? T-Levels are an alternative route for students to take after A-Levels. T-Levels are new two-year courses that students in England can take after completing their GCSEs. T-Levels aim to prepare students for entry into skilled employment, an apprenticeship, or related technical study through further or higher education.

A-level grades in Northern Ireland up on last comparative year as exams return

In Northern Ireland 44% of students received a grade A or above, compared with 29.4% in 2019.

Education Secretary backs efforts to make university system fairer. Ucas has also taken into account data on free school meals – an indicator of disadvantage – in offers for the first time this year.

First-year students facing university accommodation shortage as undergraduates pushed to ‘predatory’ landlords. The National Union of Students has accused universities of “washing their hands of their duty towards their own students” as undergraduates struggle to find somewhere to live

Read more from Nicola Thomas

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