Learners in Wales receive their A and AS level grades today after a difficult year

Tuesday 10 Aug 2021

A and AS level learners in Wales receive their final results today, following a difficult year for many.

“This has been an academic year unlike any other,” said Chief Executive Philip Blaker. “Following the Welsh Governments' decision to cancel exams in November last year and the subsequent move in January this year to an approach where schools and colleges determine the results for their learners, our priority has been to find the fairest possible approach in these extraordinary circumstances.

“The priority being for learners to make their next steps to higher education, further education, apprenticeships or employment and protect their wellbeing.

“The process has relied on the professional judgement of teachers and lecturers to determine the grades that are appropriate for their learners, placing schools and colleges at the heart of the approach. We would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work in adapting swiftly to the flexible arrangements put in place to enable grades to be awarded.

“Given that a centralised approach, such as exams, was not possible in the circumstances, they have been in the best position to make the right decisions for their learners as they understand the local challenges faced. In the circumstances a one size fits all approach would have presented greater risks to fairness.

“While the overall pattern of results looks different, learners can be confident that the qualifications awarded in Wales this year carry the same value as qualifications awarded in any other year.”

Results

  • Overall A level results in Wales are higher at grade A and above compared to 2020 (48.3% in 2021 compared with 41.8% in 2020, and 27.0% in 2019).
  • Similar patterns in outcomes at grade A and above are seen in England (44.3% in 2021 compared with 38.1% in 2020, and 25.2% in 2019) and Northern Ireland* (50.8% in 2021 compared with 43.3% in 2020, and 30.9% in 2019).
  • The AS level results in Wales show that 37.1% achieved grade A for AS and 96.7% achieved A to E
  • 30.0% achieved grade A* or A in the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (a major part of the Welsh Baccalaureate). 

Many vocational learners will also be receiving their Level 3 results today and some will have been determined in a similar way to A levels.

The full overview of revised results for A level, AS and the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate in Wales is available on the Qualifications Wales website.

Outcome data in Northern Ireland
Data for NI in 2020 and 2021 includes Health and Social Care (single and double award).