We look at the different options pupils face after GCSEs and how they affect employability and earnings

A-Level results day 2017: A look at changing grade distributions

We looked at some of the main A-Level results trends this morning, and separately we have looked at how results changed in subjects that have been reformed (in brief: attainment fell slightly). But there are a couple of other interesting trends in grade distributions to be drawn out. Some specific subjects are seeing quite large [...]

By | August 17th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

A-Level results day 2017: The impact of reform in England and Wales

A massive 59% of A-Level exams sat in England this year were in reformed subjects which follow the new, linear model of sitting one set of exams at the end of the two-year course. Overall, and perhaps surprisingly, A-Level entries by 18-year-olds in reformed subjects increased by 2.3% in England. This compares to 0.7% in [...]

By | August 17th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

A-Level results day 2017: Is it the end of the road for AS-Levels?

Last year, we reported on entries and grades in the first set of AS-Levels to be reformed. Compared to 2015, entries fell in all subjects, ranging from 11% (business studies) to 33% (art and design). This year, more subjects have been reformed and decoupled from A-Levels. Data published by Ofqual earlier in the summer showed [...]

By | August 17th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

A-Level results day 2017: The key trends in three charts

Overall, A-Level pass rates have edged up slightly A*-A passes were up slightly (26.3% of all awards v 25.8% last year), though the overall A*-E pass rate was down slightly (97.9% v 98.1%). The proportion of A*s awarded was also up - to 8.3% of all awards, versus 8.1% last year. However, in England the [...]

By | August 17th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

Can we compare the A-Level performance of independent schools and state schools?

Last week the TES ran a story based on some research by Tom Richmond [PDF] comparing the A-Level value added scores of independent schools and state schools. In the story, the average value added score for the 10 highest attaining independent schools was given as 0.19, and for the 10 highest attaining non-selective state schools 0.26[1]. [...]

By | August 14th, 2017|Post-16 provision, School accountability|

Measuring two-year retention post-16: what does it show?

Each year, the government of the day publishes performance indicators about schools and colleges. While ostensibly they provide the public (and particularly parents) with information, and so inform choice, they are also a lever to encourage the system to function in the way the government wants. Indicators come and go as governments change. Plans for [...]

By | August 9th, 2017|Post-16 provision, School accountability|

Young people are taking fewer A-Levels as qualification reforms kick in and per-student spending falls

Post-16 education is in a period of flux, with major qualification reforms and a drop in per-student spending. Reformed A-Levels began to be introduced from September 2015, with a concurrent decoupling of AS-Levels. And, as the IFS have reported [PDF], spending per student in school sixth forms and further education has been falling since 2010/11. [...]

By | May 18th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

Are 19-year-olds really becoming less qualified?

Aficionados of DfE Statistical First Releases (SFRs) were shocked to their very core a couple of weeks ago with the revelation that the percentage of 19-year-olds qualified to Level 2 had fallen for the first time since records began. In the real world this equates to young people achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C [...]

By | April 14th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision, School accountability|

The equivalence of A-Levels and BTECs

* Updated 3rd April 2017 following helpful feedback from UCAS* Last week, the Higher Education Policy Institute published a report on BTECs and university admissions [PDF]. It recognised that much of the increase in the proportion of young people achieving Level 3 – A-Levels or equivalents – by age 19 (see Table 3 here, XLSX) [...]

By | February 28th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|