Proportion of A level papers given top marks falls for second year

The number of students gaining an A or A* grade at A-level has fallen for the second year running as students opt for the tougher options.

Some 26.3 per cent of papers this year were marked A or A*, down 0.3 percentage points from the year before. The number of entries marked as A* also fell 0.3 percentage points to 7.6 per cent.

It is thought that the reason for the fall lies with students sitting exams in tougher subjects in order to stand out to the most competitive universities and employers.

The proportion of exams sat in biology, chemistry and physics rose to 17.8 per cent from 17.0 per cent, while maths and further maths accounted for 12 per cent of all exams. At the same time, there was a drop off in subjects like media studies, drama, physical education, performing arts and communication studies.

However, 98.1 per cent of papers gained at least an E grade – the 31st consecutive annual increase