Ofqual has taken steps to moderate bias and account for equality impacts in challenging circumstances. This standardisation process was important to avoid grade inflation across the board, as research suggests predicted grades are often too high.

However, at first glance it appears this may not be enough to successfully counter the systematic under-prediction of grades for high achieving disadvantaged students.

Subjects and schools with fewer pupils, which relied more on teachers’ predictions – as they could not be standardised – are seeing the largest improvement in grades compared to last year.

This appears to have disproportionately benefitted private schools with smaller cohorts over larger sixth form colleges with more socio-economically disadvantaged students.

What impact could this have?

The appeal process may be more vital for disadvantaged students wishing to use their mock exam results. It also highlights the importance of higher education providers being more flexible in holding places, so that these students don’t miss out and access gaps don’t widen.

  • According to UCAS, a record number of pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in England have been accepted into university  – up 7.3 per cent on last year’s results day.
  • For more on the A-Level results visit the Ofqual website.