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UK A Level Grades

Anyone from the UK keeping up to date with the A level grades saga?

For those that are not - this year becasue there were not exams the government asked the teachers to allocate a grade to their own students and then asked the schools to moderate.

In areas of England - there was a 48.8% increase of top grades (for clarity for every 1000 A/A* last year there were 1488 this year). In Wales across all subjects - 40.4% of all students got an A/A*. last year the best on record at the time it was 27%.

I mean - what the government done in response (the algorithm) was equally stupid. But how the hell is this allowed to stand? I mean - the grades are just not credible. You can’t have over 40% of all students getting the best grade. It totally devalues the qualification.

Yeah it’s a complete mess honestly. Universities have given assurance that those grades will be given the same weighting as grades from any other year (at least for Cambridge International Examination A-levels - not sure about the other boards, but I assume it’s the same), but as you say one has to wonder if the qualification will really hold any worth given the current amount of A* and A grades floating around.

My guess? Unis will keep reassuring everyone that the grades will be treated the same but secretly give preference to people who sat their exams in the normal fashion. Don’t blame them tbh - it’s hard to see how an assessed grade like this one can really be worth as much as a normal exam result.

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I think you are right. I work in civil engineering and I might get a job candidate who sat there exams this year. I’m going to swerve them.

I know its harsh but exams are the only objective measure if a candidates ability. But thats trashed now. I’d rather hire someone a year older (at greater expense possibly) to get a known quantity.

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As a recruiter, have you ever hired someone based an their A-levels?

Not solely but its part of the screening process. Someone with a B/C in maths is highly unlikely to get a job with a Tier 1 civil enigineer contractor. Its just that simple.

What does that mean for this years cohort in my line of work?
Given that the A levels are now used by to prove a candidate is suitably able for placement on the company sponsored graduate route (the company pay for your university education whilst you work 4 days a week) the company are not going to take a chance on candidate that might or might not be up the standard. This years in take will be minimal. I can see it be 50% of last years. OR the university offer will be much more conditional. In that the candidate will have to wait for a long period of time before being able to access the education aspect.

Indirectly - I will be running a big project next year. I will be asked to take on a number of these pre-graduate engineers. I will look avoid anyone who passed this year. Why - because all I will see is a CV for each of them. The only objective information on the CV is the grades. Remove this - and all I have is list of subjective normally generic information that totally meaningless:
Typically stuff like:
“I work well in a team but am also self sufficient” or “I work well under pressure”.

Really? You know an objective measure of that? An A* grade under normal circumstances. It proves you went to calls, done your own study AND dealt with exam pressure.

Yes, similar to carl if someone has relatively poor maths results they are definitely going to be second tier against other applicants in a finance position.

If this doesn’t prove what a farce this is nothing else will. There is so little testing done in UK schools outside of the final exams for GCSE and A levels that the ‘predicted’ grades are nothing more than a rough guess.

I for one didn’t put that much work in during the year but aced the exams, always exceeding my expected grades.

Further expected grades are entirely subjective and not done in any remotely standardised measure. They vary teacher to teacher, let alone school to school. I know some teachers who use them, rightly or wrongly, to motivate certain students, giving them low expected grades hoping a student with more rebellious tendencies will then try harder to ‘prove them wrong’. I know some teachers who use them as confidence boosters for students that might be struggling, hoping that the display if belief will give them a boost and encourage them to live up to expectations.

Replacing results from strict, formalised, standardised examination with ‘my teacher thought’ is a really poor trade.

Unfortunately I’m not sure what else they can do. In a perfect world I’d say the assessments should all be rescheduled, but I don’t think there is sufficient will for this and there would inevitably be uproar over making these poor delicate children sit exams during such a trying time.


I’m in exactly the same situation. It helps that my mindset and gifts line up perfectly for exam style assessment. Which I don’t think is a terrible thing by the way, the ability to perform when its performance time is a valuable skill, as much as the ability to consistently grind over the long term.

Despite the tone, it was a genuine question. I work in retail where qualifications are beyond useless. I’ve never asked for A-level grades nor have I ever been asked.

Im the same. I chose my modules at university based on which ones had 100% final assessments and no coursework. Play to your strengths.


I took it as such. I know you’re not here to be a dick.

You know who I feel sorry for. Guys and girls that work hard for as grade that some one else got because the teacher liked them. Or the ones that missed a grade because the teacher disliked them.

The thing is everyone is so happy they got good grades. They are all too stupid to see they are meaning less now.
Its like that part in Bruce Almighty where they all win the lottery.

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This has the makings of a terrible porn.

It’s going to be interesting to watch the “everyones a winner” culture that’s been growing play out.

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The reality is this is how the powers-that-be can put their thumb on the scales and pick winners.

Much harder to do when you have objective test of merit.

See, this way, people with the right politics, connections, skin color, religion, whatever can get the plumb assignments in the name of (whatever pet cause is in political favor).

This is why my kids all hid their Israeli citizenship and Jewishness when applying to colleges. Took some doing, but we planned ahead.

For reference: In general most education systems have fucked over students.
Students cheating are essentially corrected for, which puts honest students at a massive loss.
It is a horrible system and the correcting may make the institute look good, but it is harming honest students that are essentially doing the more challenging work alone.

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Many companies in the US require job applicants to take a test that is sorta like an IQ test. IMO, I think it only correlates somewhat with job performance. I am a very distracted person (ADHD), but do very well in testing when something is on the line like a job. I think many people who score worse than me, would probably do better at many jobs that require tedious work.

The test tells you about the persons ability, not how well they apply that ability.

I kinda think this about school grades too. Is the guy who hardly studies, breezes through homework, and gets As, going to be a great worker? Maybe, but their As don’t demonstrate that hard work occurred.

More of intelligence than merit, IMO. Does high intelligence count as merit?

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