Exam results, News

A-level results 2016: Trends and stats from the national data

A-level results are out! Here’s what we know…


Overall Performance

The proportion of A* and As grade has decreased a tiny amount. This year 25.8 per cent of grades were an A or A*, compared to 25.9 per cent last year.

The overall performance figure is unchanged – with 98.1 per cent of entries receiving at least an E grade. (Meaning 1.9 per cent received U grades).


A-level Grade Distribution: 2015 vs 2016

A-Level Grades 2015 vs 2016


Which subjects are gaining/losing popularity?

The most 10 popular A-level subjects are exactly the same as last year.

The top 5 subjects are maths, English, Biology, Psychology and History. Not a change in place for any of them.

BUT, it looks as if art subjects are seeing a decrease in A-level. Performing/expressive arts A-level entries dropped by 15.3 per cent since 2015. Music also dropped by 8.8 per cent and Drama by 6.5 per cent.

This will be a worry for teachers of the subjects and is likely to resurrect arguments that the exam system is damaging pupil’s chances to study the arts.



Which subjects have the biggest gender gap in entries?

Computing continues to have the highest gender gap in entry. Things have improved, with girls creeping up to become 9.8 per cent of entries (last year they were just 9 per cent). But it is still a pretty big difference.

For reference, ICT – the subject precursor of computing, which is being reduced by the government – had more than a third of its entries among female candidates.

Boys fare worst in performing and expressive arts, where they make up just 10.23 per cent of candidates. However, they continue to outnumber girls in music where they are 55 per cent of entrants.


Which subjects do male and female candidates do best in?

Male candidates perform better at the top end, gaining substantially more A*s than female candidates (8.5 per cent of male A-level entries gain an A*s, compared to just 7.7 per cent for female entrants).

However, female candidates get a higher proportion of As, Bs and Cs.

Male candidates received higher numbers of A and A*s than female candidates in: German (+3.4%), French (+2.9%), Maths (+2%) and Chemistry (+1.7%).

Female candidates did significantly better than their male peers in: PE (+12.5%) and Geography (+9.6%)


Schools Week will be analysing the trends throughout the day. Check back for more.


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