Are A grades at A level easier to get than they used to be?

The stats don't lie. New evidence shows pupils are three times more likely to get an A at A level in 2019 than in 1989

A level results were critised last week after it was revealed that candidates taking one maths paper could achieve an A grade with only 55% of the marks. This means pupils could get almost half of the answers wrong – and still get an A. The pass rate was also published, controversially, at being just 14%. 

Parents across the country are smugly posting images on social media of their super successful AAA darlings with thumbs up images, while, secretly, wondering whether it's somehow easier to get an A these days. "I mean... " says the voice inside the head of the parent who did O levels in the 1980s and only knew one person who got 3 As at A level and they had a bench at school named after them,  "... we didn't even have A*s in my day." 

So do more people get an A today at A level than they used to? 

Yes, according to stats published in The Spectator this week which show how the proportion of candidates achieving A (and A* since 2010) grades has increased over the years:

1982    8.9%
1994    18%
1999    24%
2004    28%
2009    31%
2014 (A & A* grades)  26%
2019 (A & A* grades)  26%


So it's official. We've even made a handy A* infographic for you. Just don't show it to your kids.