Students getting 3 A grades or better at A level
1. Main facts and figures
- 22.5% of students got 3 A grades or better (including students whose ethnicity was unknown)
- 37.0% of students from the Chinese ethnic group got 3 A grades or better – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
- 12.0% of Black students got 3 A grades or better – the lowest percentage out of the 6 aggregated ethnic groups
- 20.4% of students from the White ethnic group got 3 A grades or better
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data measures the percentage of 16 to 18 year old students in England who entered at least one A level or applied A level and got 3 A grades or better.
A level qualifications include:
- A or AS levels
- applied single A or AS levels
- applied double A or AS levels
- combined A or AS level
Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.
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 students who entered at least one A level or applied A level. This is mainly because students who attended independent schools did not have their ethnicity recorded in the Department for Education’s school census.
Students whose ethnicity was not known are included in the figures for ‘All’ ethnicities, and results for this group are shown in the table.
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.
Read the detailed methodology for the data used on this page.
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 the data for figures for the 3 school years to July 2020.
3. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||%||Students in cohort|
|Mixed White/Black African||15.6||1,082|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||14.4||1,733|
Summary of Students getting 3 A grades or better at A level By ethnicity Summary
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Department for Education
Purpose of data source
The main purpose of this data is to measure the performance of schools and colleges and their students. This is to monitor and improve standards and inform parental and student choice.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, time, time_type, geography, geography_type, geography_code, age, value, value_type and denominator