Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Implications of the A* grade

Summer 2010 marks the first time that the new A* will be awarded at A level. This is in all subjects, including those in which the new A level specifications have not yet been introduced, such as mathematics. Ofqual has published an open letter to schools with information on the implications of the A* grade at www.ofqual.gov.uk

The A* will be awarded for the A level qualification only, not for the AS qualification or at unit level. The A* grade will be given to candidates who have achieved:

  • an A grade overall in their A level

  • 90 per cent on the uniform marks scale (UMS) on the aggregate of their A2 units

The way in which the A* grade is to be awarded will mean that it is achieved by learners who have consistently performed well throughout their A level units and outstandingly on the A2 units, which incorporate the most challenging questions.

This means that there will be candidates in summer 2010 who do not achieve an A* grade but who have higher A level UMS scores (which arise from the total units, both AS and A2) than candidates who have achieved the new grade.

The percentage of A* grades is likely to vary from subject to subject, as does the percentage of A grades awarded each year. The new grade is not being awarded to a set percentage of the total candidates or a set percentage of those who achieve an A grade - it will strictly be awarded according to the rules set out above.

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