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Disbelief and joy as students get record A-level results

The number of As and A*s awarded have increased to 44.8% from 38.5% last yearBecause of the pandemic grades have been determined by teachers' estimates, rather than exams.Scottish Highers, National 5s and Advanced Highers results are also being confirmed.Students in Scotland received grades decided by their teachers after provisional grades were awarded in June.BTec students are also getting their results

The A-level results follow last year's chaos when grades were initially calculated based on an algorithm.This meant teachers estimates were used in most cases in 2020.The head of exams watchdog Ofqual says teacher assessments give a "more accurate reflection" of what students can achieve.

Sharp increase in top A-level grades awarded

There’s been a sharp increase in the top grades awarded at A-level after a second year of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.As and A*s increased 6.3 percentage points to 44.8% from 38.5% last year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.All exams were cancelled for a second year in a row, with grades this year being decided by teachers from a range of tests, coursework and mock exams.The top grades have increased by 75% over the two years from 25.5% in 2019 – the last time examinations were sat.

How have the results been decided this year?

A combination of coursework, mock exams and essays has been used by teachers to decide grades.The head teacher of each school has to sign off the results and say there is evidence to back them up.The freedom given to schools meant students have had very different experiences this year - with some doing more tests than others.To ensure consistent judgements were made, some measures were put in place by exam boards, such as requiring a sample of student work to be submitted.Last year, when exams were also cancelled, results were initially calculated based on an algorithm, before a U-turn meant teachers estimates were used in most cases.

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