Students getting 3 A grades or better at A level

Published

Last updated 30 September 2020 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • 13.0% of students got 3 A grades or better (including students whose ethnicity wasn’t known)
  • 25.7% of students from the Chinese ethnic group got 3 A grades or better – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • 5.5% of Black students got 3 A grades or better – the lowest percentage out of the 6 aggregated ethnic groups
  • 11.2% of students with Mixed ethnicity got 3 A grades or better – this was followed by White students (11.0%), students from the Asian ethnic group (11.0%), students from the Other ethnic group (10.2%)

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures the percentage of A level students in England aged 16 to 18 who got 3 A grades or better, by ethnicity.

A level qualifications include:

  • A/AS levels
  • applied single A/AS levels
  • applied double A/AS levels
  • combined A/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 2 exceptions:

  • there are separate categories for Traveller of Irish Heritage, and Gypsy and Roma pupils
  • the Chinese ethnic group has its own category, and is not part of the Asian ethnic group

Ethnicity was not known for 17% of students. 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.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for the data used on this page.

Previously published data on A level results used a different methodology and is not comparable.

The number of students taking reformed AS qualifications in England has dropped since new AS and A Levels were implemented in September 2015. This makes it more difficult to compare results over time.

3. By ethnicity

Percentage of students achieving at least 3 A grades at A level, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Students in cohort
All 13.0 218,398
Asian 11.0 24,942
Bangladeshi 7.8 4,194
Indian 15.5 8,222
Pakistani 7.3 7,788
Asian other 11.8 4,738
Black 5.5 10,475
Black African 6.1 7,520
Black Caribbean 3.4 1,839
Black other 5.4 1,116
Chinese 25.7 1,480
Mixed 11.2 8,982
Mixed White/Asian 15.3 2,511
Mixed White/Black African 8.3 1,080
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 6.2 1,812
Mixed other 11.8 3,579
White 11.0 131,947
White British 11.0 121,533
White Irish 13.8 816
Gypsy/Roma 0.0 30
Irish Traveller 0.0 9
White other 11.5 9,559
Other 10.2 3,526
Unknown 23.4 37,046

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Students getting 3 A grades or better at A level By ethnicity Summary

Figures for the White Gypsy and Roma and Traveller of Irish Heritage ethnic groups are based on a small number of pupils and are less reliable as a result.

The data shows that:

  • 13.0% of students got 3 A grades or better at A level (including students whose ethnicity wasn’t known)
  • 25.7% of students from the Chinese ethnic group got 3 A grades or better – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • students from the Indian ethnic group (15.5%) were the next most likely to get at least 3 A grades
  • 5.5% of students from the Black ethnic group got 3 A grades or better – the lowest percentage out of the 6 aggregated ethnic groups
  • students from the White Gypsy and Roma, and Traveller of Irish Heritage ethnic groups were least likely to get at least 3 A grades, with no students from either group doing so

4. 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 schools/colleges' and students' performance, to monitor and improve standards and inform parental and student choice.

5. Download the data

Students aged 16 to 18 achieving at least 3 A grades at A level - Spreadsheet (csv) 4 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, age group, geography, value, denominator