Colossal fall in Northern Irish A-level / GCSE appeals – from 1,687 to 41

Just 41 appeals were lodged in the six days following this year’s A-level and GCSE results in Northern Ireland.

GCSE results being opened
GCSE results being opened

This is a drop from 1,687 appeals in 2020 and 1,926 in 2019, in six days.

Teacher-assessed grades were issued earlier this month following the cancellation of exams for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than half of the A-levels sat in Northern Ireland received the top A*-A grades.

At GCSE, almost 40% of the grades issued were A or A* grades, an increase of 3.6%, however there was little change in the number of entries achieving A-C grades – 89.6% in 2021 compared with 89.8% last year



Grades were assessed by teachers and decided through a five-stage process.

This did not include the statistical algorithm used last year to standardise A-level results, which sparked outrage after more than a third of grades predicted by teachers were reduced, and the original assessed grades were issued.

Grades could be challenged without charge in a two-stage process of a internal centre review and/or a review by the exams board CCEA.

However there has been a dramatic drop in the number of appeals over both A-level and GCSE results this year.


In a statement to the PA news agency, CCEA said that in the first six days there were 41 appeals.

In comparison, there were 1,687 appeals in the first six days after the results in 2020, and 1,926 in 2019 – the last year that formal exams were set.

A spokesman for CCEA said the data is “not directly comparable to previous years, given the alternative awarding arrangements for 2021”.



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