The Joint Council for Qualifications has published the 2019 national results for AS and A levels for all UK candidates. There are summaries of the data for England, Wales and Northern Ireland below - here is a summary of the key points for overall UK results:
Overall UK results
- A Level entries have increased as a proportion of 18 year-olds, with a decrease of 2.9% in the 18 year-old population in 2019, while the number of entries fell by 1.3%
- Pass rates are stable from 2018 to 2019.
- The proportion of students achieving the top grades at A-level has fallen to its lowest level for more than a decade, with 25.5% achieving an A grade or higher - the lowest level since 2007 when it was 25.3%.
- Entries for the sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) continue to rise, reaching 20.9% of all A Levels (167,244) up from 19.2%, continuing the strong trend in recent years.
- Chemistry entries were up by 9.2%, Biology, up by 8.4% and Physics up by 3.0%.
- Female entries have overtaken male entries in the sciences for the first time, reaching 50.3% (compared to 49.6% in 2018).
- The increase in entries was accompanied by a decline in A*-A outcomes across all sciences with a reduction of 1.0pp in Chemistry, 1.7pp in Physics and 1.8pp in Biology. The pass rate (A*-E) remained steady at 97.1%.
- Spanish entries overtook French entries for the first time, making it the most popular foreign language. Spanish entries increased by 4.5% to 8,625 and French decreased by 4.1% to 8,355.
- German entries have remained level.
- Entries for French, German and Spanish combined have levelled off, reversing the decline in recent years.
- Outcomes at A*-A and A* are largely unchanged for all three languages, although there is an increase of 2.5pp at A* in German.
- Males have higher outcomes than females at A*-A in all languages: 37.4% compared to 36.5% in French, 41.4% to 41.1% in German and 35.3% to 35.2% in Spanish.
- Entries to mathematics were down by 5.9%, although it remains the most popular subject with a total of 91,895 entries.
- There was a small improvement at A* with 16.5% achieving this grade (compared to 15.9% in 2018).
- The number achieving A*-A declined by 1.2pp to 41.0%.
English language and English literature
- English literature declined by 7.8% to 40,824.
- English language saw a larger decrease in entries of 21.8% to 14,114.
- In all English subjects, the decline was larger in male entries compared to female entries, with females now outnumbering males by 3:1.
- The outcomes at both A* and A*-A have largely remained unchanged in all English subjects.
Entries to other subjects
- Student choice has led to an increase in entries in other subjects, for example, Political Studies (+9.8%), Psychology (+8.2%), History (+5.1%) and Geography (+4.2%).
- Where there have been significant increases in entries, slight decreases in the percentage achieving the higher grades have occurred: for example, these subjects show a decrease of between 0.9 to 1.6pp at A*-A.
- There has been a decrease in entries to a number of subjects, for example ICT (-72.1%) Performing/Expressive Arts (-16.9%), Media/Film/TV Studies (-13.8%), Drama (-9.2%), Music (-6.4%), Religious Studies (-5.5%) and Design and Technology (-5.0%).
- The decline in AS Level entries has continued as expected, with total entries declining 44.1% (compared to a decline of 52.5% in 2018). This decrease is largely due to recent policy changes in England and is driven by a large drop in AS Level entries in England.
- Outcomes for AS Levels are down, with A grades declining to 21.5% in 2019 from 27.5%, a decline of 6.0pp.
Read the full national results here.
First published 05 September 2019