Nearly nine out of ten A-level exams sat this year were passed,but this week's results suggest that so-called "grade inflation" is beginning to level out, writes Alan Thomson.
The numbers of A levels passed at grades A to E increased by 0.7 per cent on last year's provisional figure, from 87.8 per cent to 88.5 per cent. The number of grade A passes awarded also increased by 0.7 per cent to 137,146.
It means that out of 783,692 examinations sat (down by 10,570 on last year due a fall in the number of 18-year-olds) 693,567 were passes at A to E.
Just over 90,000 A-level papers were failed.
Last year's provisional pass rate also increased by 0.7 per cent on 1997 while the 1997 pass rate had increased by 1.3 per cent on 1996. Between 1989 and 1999, the percentage of exams passed at A to E jumped from 75.9 per cent to a provisional 88.5 per cent.
The provisionalAS-level pass rate fell by 1 per cent this year.