It’s almost here- A-levels result day will see thousands of young people up and down the country waiting nervously to find out how they have done.
The grades each teenager gets will be determined by the grade boundaries, which change each year, and 2023 is set to be a bit of a change from 2022.
When is A-level results day 2023?
A-level results day falls on Thursday 17 August 2023, with grades typically available to collect from schools and colleges at around 8am.
Times vary from place to place, though, and grades have previously been released by exam boards under embargo at 6am.
Anne McElvoyStarmer is missing the point about university, course quality is a bigger problem than cost
Pupils can go into their schools or colleges to collect their grades in person, though you should check with your institution or teachers to confirm when to arrive, as times will vary.
It may also be possible to receive your results via email or post – again, check with your institution to find out.
Students can also log into Ucas Hub on results day to find out whether their specific university applications have been successful.
Ucas Hub doesn’t show you the exact A-level grades you received, which students can only receive from their school or college. However, by confirming whether you have been accepted at your university of choice, it can often give a strong indication of your precise grades.
The website typically opens between 8am and 8.30am on results day, after being frozen in the days leading up to it.
What is a pass?
You have passed if you get one of six grades, A*, A, B, C, D or E, – where A and A* is the highest grade and E is the lowest.
A D and an E is a pass, but it will get fewer Ucas points.
If a student does not pass, it will show on their results sheet as “Not Classified” or similar.
Who are the exam boards?
PiAcademy says: “AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) is one of the main examination boards in England and currently accounts for more than half of the GCSE and A-level qualifications taken and marked in the UK each year.
It is a registered charity, independent of the government, and it covers maths, English, several languages, humanities, ICT-related areas, PE and creative subjects.
Edexcel was formed in 1996, following the merger of the Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) and the University of London Examinations and Assessment Council (ULEAC). It is one of the largest in the UK and is” largely used for GCSE and A-level qualifications in the UK (as well as some vocational qualifications, including NVQs and Functional Skills)”.
It offers “qualifications in around 50 subject areas, including the core subjects of maths, English and science”.
It is the only privately owned examination board, and is owned by published Pearson.
PiAcademy says: “OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA) sets and assesses GCSEs, A levels and a wide range of vocational courses”. It is “also part of Europe’s largest assessment agency, operating in more than 150 different countries”.
The exam board “offers GCSEs and A levels in more than 40 subjects, including the core subjects of maths, English and science, but also a range of languages, humanities and creative arts subjects”, as well as 450 vocational courses.
How can I find out the grade boundaries?
The Government says: ” Grade boundaries are set after students have taken the assessments and marking is nearly complete.”
The boundaries will be published on the exam boards’ websites.
AQA has not confirmed its release time, but says they will be available on results day. Last year they were up at 8am. You will be able to find them here.
OCR is following suit, and will publish its grade boundaries here at 8am.
Pearson Qualifications, which owns Edexcel, says: “Grade boundaries for summer 2023 will be available here on Thursday 17 August at 8am“.
How will exams be marked differently this year?
Last year, 45 per cent of all A-level grades were either an A or an A* in 2021, up from 33 per cent in 2019. The return to pre-pandemic grading means that national results will be lower than last summer’s.
To bring grades back to pre-pandemic levels, experts at the University of Buckingham claim that 59,000 fewer A*s and 36,000 fewer As will need to be awarded this year.
The study, helmed by Centre for Education and Employment Research (Creer), predicts that the proportion of A* grades will fall from 14.6 per cent in 2022 to 10 per cent this year, while As will fall from 36.4 per cent to 27.5 per cent.
A report filed by Creer said: “Assuming a reduction in two subjects per person, this would mean about 30,000 students not getting the A* grades they could have expected last year, and nearly 50,000 not getting the A*/A grade.”
Students’ grades will be determined only by the number of marks they achieve on the assessments, and the same grade boundaries will apply to everyone taking the qualification.
The schools minister, Nick Gibb, has said results in needed to return to their former standard to carry the same weight with employers.
NewsBig ReadInside the A-level ‘shitshow’ as students face triple hit of Covid, strikes and harsher marking
“A typical student in 2019 – given the same level of ability, the same level of diligence – the likelihood is that same student would get the same grades in 2023 as they would have done in 2019,” he told PA Media.
Those finishing school this year have faced an education disrupted by the pandemic and teacher strike action, as well as the changes to grading.
Ofqual has stated, however, that it will make no special allowances for pupils whose teaching was affected by eight days of industrial action in 2023.
More moderate arrangements are in place this year in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Information about the content of some papers was given to students in advance, and Covid disruption was taken into account in the marking. In Wales, grade boundaries will be set midway between 2019 and last year’s results.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “This year GCSE and A-level grading is largely returning to normal, in line with plans set out by Ofqual almost two years ago, to make sure qualifications maintain their value and students get the opportunities they deserve.
“This means national results are expected to be similar to those in pre-pandemic years, and a student should be just as likely to achieve a particular grade this year as they would have been before the pandemic.”
Can I appeal my grades?
If you think there has been a mistake in the marking of your exams, talk to your school or college, who can ask the exam board to review how your exam was marked – though an exam board cannot give you extra marks just because your mark was close to a grade boundary or because you did not get the grade your centre predicted.
According to guidance published by Ofqual, your centre can also apply for a review of moderation of non-exam assessment that was marked by your teacher, if marks were changed by the exam board.
The exam boards will publish details of the deadlines for seeking reviews of marking or moderation, and appeals, on their websites.
Exam boards may charge fees for reviews of marking or moderation if your grade does not change.
You can request a priority review of marking if you are depending on the outcome of a review to secure a higher education place. Exam boards will aim to complete priority reviews by 7 September, which is Ucas’s advisory deadline for higher education providers to hold places open for students.
If you and your centre still have concerns after a review of marking or moderation, the review decision may be challenged through the exam board’s appeals process, while decisions about reasonable adjustments, special consideration and malpractice can also be taken into account.
You can find guidance here.