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University admissions and A Level, T Level and VTQ results – what do the stats show?

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Today young people up and down the country are getting their A Level, and for the first time T Level results, alongside results for other Level 3 vocational and technical qualification (VTQs) used for progression to university, employment, apprenticeships and other next steps.

Many young people will also be finding out if they’ve been successful in their university applications or using their results to progress into the world of work or on to a wide range of other pathways.

It’s important to say that because the approach to grading this year is different to previous years, it is not possible to draw direct comparisons between outcomes this year and other years. You can read more about the approach to grading this year here.

Here we set out what the data tells us.

What do the stats for university admissions show this year?

  • Stats from UCAS show this year 20% more 18-year-olds from England have gained a place at their firm choice compared to 2019, following the return to examinations.
  • 23,220 English 18 year olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have been accepted, an increase of 4,260 on 2019. This means that the entry rate gap between the most and least advantaged has narrowed from 2.29 in 2019 to 2.26 in 2022,and from 2.32 in 2021.
  •  This year has also seen the first T Level students gain a place in higher education, with 370 applicants accepted – that’s 71% of the T Level students who applied to universities
  • International placed students account for 12.3% of the total full-time undergraduate applicants accepted via UCAS, down from a high of 14.7% in 2019.
  • 20,360 students found out today that they do not have a place – this is down from 24,260 in 2019.

What does the data for A Level and AS Level grades show?

For AS and A level, Ofqual’s approach to grading in 2022 reflects a midway point between summer 2019 and 2021.

Results received today are higher than when summer exams were last sat in 2019, but lower than in 2021, when grades were awarded by teacher assessment. This was the right thing to do for students this year, to recognise the disruption caused by the pandemic. However, this also means results this year can’t be compared to those years and although comparisons with 2019 are more meaningful they still aren’t like for like.

  • The data shows us that in the UK 82.6% of A level grades awarded are grade C or above. 36.4% are A and A*.
  • Across the UK girls have continued to outperform boys with 84.3% of girls’ grades being at grade C or above compared to 80.4% of boys’. The gap is smaller at the top grades with 14.8% of girls’ grades being A* compared to 14.4% of boys’ grades.

What do we know about T Level grades?

The first T Level results show that 92.2% of students passed their courses with 31.9% achieving a Distinction and 2.7% a Distinction*. Around 1,000 pioneering students received their results today, having started on the first three T Levels for Construction, Education and Childcare and Digital in September 2020.

And what about other qualifications?

Results issued today for medium size Level 3 VTQs, which are equivalent to one A level, show grades are slightly below those awarded in 2021, whilst the results for larger VTQs, equivalent to 3 A levels are slightly above those awarded in 2021.

What options are available to those students who didn’t get the grades they hoped for?

If students do not get the grades they need, their preferred university may still offer them a place.

In the first instance, we encourage students to talk to their school or college for advice, and to their preferred university, who may be able to offer some flexibility.

Students can also seek advice from the Exam Results Helpline run by the National Careers Service, or the Get the Jump for other study options.

UCAS is helping thousands of students to find places through Clearing, which is a dynamic matching service that helps students find places on courses at universities that suit them.

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