Average score for students taking A levels and other qualifications

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in the 2019 to 2020 school year, the average point score for all students taking A levels was 39.51 (including students whose ethnicity was unknown)
  • students from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest average point score in every type of qualification

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the average point score and equivalent grade for students taking:

  • A levels, applied generals and tech levels – these are all examples of level 3 qualifications, which are usually taken by 16 to 18 year olds and are equal to A levels in difficulty
  • technical certificates - these are level 2 vocational qualifications

The number of points depends on the qualification and grade. For example, an A* at A level is worth 60 points, and a C is worth 30 points. You can see a list of all point scores.

Average point scores are rounded to 2 decimal places. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

How average point scores are calculated

The average point score is worked out by dividing the total point score by the total number of entries.

An entry is one qualification taken by one student.

The ethnic groups used in the data

The ethnic groups are based on the 18 ethnic groups used in the 2011 Census, with three exceptions:

  • there are additional categories for Traveller of Irish Heritage, and Gypsy and Roma students
  • the Chinese ethnic group has its own category and is not part of the Asian ethnic group
  • there is no separate Arab ethnic group under the Other ethnic group

Ethnicity was not known for:

  • 16.8% of A level students
  • 6.0% of applied general students
  • 4.6% of tech level students
  • 5.5% of level 2 technical certificate students

This is mainly due to students attending independent schools not having their ethnicity recorded in the school census.

Some of the figures mentioned on this page for detailed ethnic groups are based on small numbers of pupils – this makes it difficult to make reliable generalisations.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for this data.

Exams were cancelled in summer 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students were awarded the higher of the following 2 grades:

  • a centre assessment grade based on what their school or college believed they would have achieved had exams gone ahead
  • their calculated grade using a model developed by the qualifications regulator Ofqual

Because of this, data for the 2019 to 2020 academic year should not be compared with data for previous years.

In the data file

See Download file for figures for the 3 school years between September 2017 and July 2020.

3. By ethnicity (A level students only)

Average point score and equivalent grade by ethnicity (A level students only)
Ethnicity Average Point Score Grade Number of students
All 39.51 B 271,601
Asian 37.46 B- 31,919
Bangladeshi 36.10 B- 5,323
Indian 40.08 B 9,997
Pakistani 35.19 B- 10,787
Asian other 38.05 B- 5,812
Black 35.05 B- 13,480
Black African 35.30 B- 9,787
Black Caribbean 34.09 C+ 2,170
Black other 34.77 C+ 1,523
Chinese 44.01 B+ 1,521
Mixed 38.55 B 11,543
Mixed White/Asian 40.76 B 3,171
Mixed White/Black African 37.14 B- 1,352
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 36.44 B- 2,265
Mixed other 38.36 B 4,755
White 38.96 B 163,156
White British 38.92 B 149,856
White Irish 40.64 B 967
Gypsy/Roma 35.07 B- 56
Irish Traveller 32.94 C+ 8
White other 39.27 B 12,269
Other 38.01 B- 4,476
Unknown 44.25 B+ 45,506

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (A level students only)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (A level students only)’ (CSV)

Summary of Average score for students taking A levels and other qualifications By ethnicity (A level students only) Summary

In the 2019 to 2020 school year, 82.8% of level 3 students took A levels.

The data shows that:

  • the average point score for all A level students (including students whose ethnicity was unknown) was 39.51 (equivalent to grade B)
  • students from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest average point score out of all ethnic groups (44.01 – equivalent to grade B+)
  • White Irish Traveller students had the lowest average point score (32.94 – equivalent to grade C+) – this is based on only 8 students and is less reliable as a result
  • Black Caribbean students had the second lowest average point score (34.09 – equivalent to grade C+)
  • the score for White British students (38.92) was below the national average – the scores for students from the Indian (40.08), White Irish (40.64) and Mixed White and Asian (40.76) groups were above the national average
  • the ethnicity was not known for 16.8% of A level students – this group had an average point score of 44.25 (equivalent to grade B+)

4. By ethnicity (applied general students only)

Average point score and equivalent grade by ethnicity (applied general students only)
Ethnicity Average Point Score Grade Number of students
All 31.25 Dist- 78,939
Asian 31.41 Dist- 10,045
Bangladeshi 32.16 Dist- 1,854
Indian 31.78 Dist- 2,496
Pakistani 31.25 Dist- 4,253
Asian other 30.23 Dist- 1,442
Black 29.80 Merit+ 5,768
Black African 30.01 Dist- 3,935
Black Caribbean 29.58 Merit+ 1,158
Black other 28.90 Merit+ 675
Chinese 34.64 Dist 202
Mixed 30.07 Dist- 3,365
Mixed White/Asian 30.90 Dist- 672
Mixed White/Black African 30.02 Dist- 465
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 29.79 Merit+ 914
Mixed other 29.91 Merit+ 1,314
White 31.46 Dist- 53,321
White British 31.52 Dist- 49,177
White Irish 32.33 Dist- 219
Gypsy/Roma 30.05 Dist- 47
Irish Traveller 29.52 Merit+ 8
White other 30.63 Dist- 3,870
Other 30.97 Dist- 1,471
Unknown 31.43 Dist- 4,767

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (applied general students only)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (applied general students only)’ (CSV)

Summary of Average score for students taking A levels and other qualifications By ethnicity (applied general students only) Summary

In the 2019 to 2020 school year, 24.1% of level 3 students took applied general qualifications.

The data shows that:

  • the average point score for all students taking applied general qualifications was 31.25 (equivalent to ‘distinction minus’)
  • students from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest average point score out of all ethnic groups (34.64 – equivalent to ‘distinction’)
  • Black Other students had the lowest average point score (28.90 – equivalent to grade ‘merit plus’)
  • the average point score of White British students (31.52 – equivalent to ‘distinction minus’) was above the national average

5. By ethnicity (tech level students only)

Average point score and equivalent grade by ethnicity (tech level students only)
Ethnicity Average Point Score Grade Number of students
All 29.77 Merit+ 21,967
Asian 30.00 Dist- 1,906
Bangladeshi 30.35 Dist- 277
Indian 31.17 Dist- 399
Pakistani 29.58 Merit+ 995
Asian other 29.59 Merit+ 235
Black 28.90 Merit+ 873
Black African 29.44 Merit+ 520
Black Caribbean 27.65 Merit+ 256
Black other 29.25 Merit+ 97
Chinese 33.51 Dist 48
Mixed 29.56 Merit+ 737
Mixed White/Asian 29.74 Merit+ 173
Mixed White/Black African 28.69 Merit+ 81
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 28.57 Merit+ 224
Mixed other 30.65 Dist- 259
White 29.75 Merit+ 17,145
White British 29.75 Merit+ 16,294
White Irish 26.39 Merit 43
Gypsy/Roma 30.16 Dist- 9
Irish Traveller 32.78 Dist- 2
White other 29.82 Merit+ 797
Other 29.28 Merit+ 247
Unknown 30.50 Dist- 1,011

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (tech level students only)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (tech level students only)’ (CSV)

Summary of Average score for students taking A levels and other qualifications By ethnicity (tech level students only) Summary

In the 2019 to 2020 school year, 6.7% of level 3 students took tech level qualifications.

The data shows that:

  • the average point score for all students taking tech level qualifications was 29.77 (equivalent to ‘merit plus’)
  • students from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest average point score out of all ethnic groups (33.51 – equivalent to ‘distinction’)
  • White Irish students had the lowest average point score (26.39 – equivalent to ‘merit’)
  • the average point score of White British students (29.75 – equivalent to ‘merit plus’) was similar to the national average

6. By ethnicity (level 2 technical certificate students only)

Average point score and equivalent grade by ethnicity (level 2 technical certificate students only)
Ethnicity Value Grade Number of students
All 5.71 L2 Merit- 8,631
Asian 5.65 L2 Merit- 515
Bangladeshi 5.44 L2 Pass+ 121
Indian 5.73 L2 Merit- 121
Pakistani 5.68 L2 Merit- 203
Asian other 5.79 L2 Merit- 70
Black 5.20 L2 Pass+ 212
Black African 5.04 L2 Pass 104
Black Caribbean 5.34 L2 Pass+ 77
Black other 5.34 L2 Pass+ 31
Chinese 6.41 L2 Merit+ 13
Mixed 5.75 L2 Merit- 250
Mixed White/Asian 6.10 L2 Merit 53
Mixed White/Black African 5.76 L2 Merit- 40
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 5.49 L2 Pass+ 82
Mixed other 5.80 L2 Merit- 75
White 5.72 L2 Merit- 7,104
White British 5.72 L2 Merit- 6,751
White Irish 5.42 L2 Pass+ 12
Gypsy/Roma 5.16 L2 Pass 15
Irish Traveller 6.00 L2 Merit 1
White other 5.57 L2 Merit- 325
Other 5.62 L2 Merit- 60
Unknown 5.83 L2 Merit- 477

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (level 2 technical certificate students only)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (level 2 technical certificate students only)’ (CSV)

Summary of Average score for students taking A levels and other qualifications By ethnicity (level 2 technical certificate students only) Summary

Technical certificates are level 2 qualifications – they are not included in the total counts of students taking level 3 qualifications. In the 2019 to 2020 school year, 8,631 students took level 2 technical certificates.

The data shows that:

  • the average point score for all students taking level 2 technical certificates was 5.71 (equivalent to ‘level 2 merit minus’)
  • students from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest average point score out of all ethnic groups (6.41 – equivalent to ‘level 2 merit plus’) – this is based on only 13 students and is less reliable as a result
  • Black African students had the lowest average point score (5.04 – equivalent to ‘level 2 pass’)
  • the average point score of White British students (5.72 – equivalent to ‘level 2 merit minus’) was similar to the national average

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Education

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The main purpose of this data is to measure the performance of schools, colleges and students. This is to monitor and improve standards and inform parental and student choice.

8. Download the data

Average score for students taking A levels and other qualifications - 2017/18 to 2019/20 - Spreadsheet (csv) 43 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, time, time_type, geography, geography_type, geography_code, age, value, value_type, APS per entry as a grade and number of students