Creative A Levels and languages record top grades boost


Modern languages and creative A Levels saw the greatest increases in pupils recording the top grades across England in 2020.

Analysis from Education Datalab shows that all subjects recorded a rise in the number of teenagers gaining grade A or above, with the greatest increase noted in other modern languages.

Some 73.8% of students achieved a grade A or higher, up from 51.5% in 2019 – a jump of 22.3 percentage points.

For context, even the lowest increases in both maths and sociology still saw the proportion of pupils achieving the highest grades rise by nearly ten percentage points.

Music and drama also saw the proportion of pupils gaining an A or A* surge this year, jumping by 22.1 and 21.1 percentage points respectively.

According to the analysis, subjects that had small cohorts “came out favourably”, which is partly to be expected given the smaller sample sizes.

Performing and expressive arts, Spanish, classical subjects, further mathematics, German and French all saw increases as well of 17 percentage points or more.

Some 87.5% of all entries were awarded a grade C or above across England, up from 75.5% a year ago, while the proportion gaining an A* or A soared to 38.1%, from 25.2% in 2019.

All of the results in the analysis are based on the revised outcomes, rather than those calculated using Ofqual’s standardisation algorithm.