Growth Mindset

A Level Results Day 2019

This year, A Level Results Day falls on the 15th August 2019. 

Hopeful students across the country awake to see if they’ve achieved their predicted A Level grades. This day determines whether students wanting to go into higher education have secured a place at their university of choice.


Accessing results

On the 15th August 2019, results will be published online from 6am. The 6th form or college should provide their students with how to access A Level results. Alternatively, students can go into their 6th form or college to collect a hardcopy of their results. 

Students can access UCAS Track from 8am to see whether they have been accepted on their chosen course at their firm university choice.

It is important to remember that the website may be slow when checking A Level results and UCAS, as thousands of students will be logging on at the same time.  


Grade boundaries

Exam grade boundaries are published from 6am, alongside results. Exam boards publish these separately, so students will need to check the individual exam board websites: 







Grades aren’t as expected?

If students haven’t received the grades they’ve hoped for, there is no need to panic. There are many alternatives; sometimes the firm choice university will still accept lower results than requested. Or they may accept students onto a different course than the one they applied for. Otherwise, the student’s insurance university choice might offer them a place. 

Adjustment and clearing are other options, which are done via UCAS Track.  



If students have exceeded their offer, they can go through adjustments to apply for other universities, whilst holding their firm offer. This is available from 9am on the 16th August until the 31st August. On results day, 15th August, students can register for this on Track. Student have five days to secure an alternative university. Read more here:



Clearing is for when a student doesn’t receive the results they were expecting. It provides the option of choosing a different course or university. Students can apply for clearing when they haven’t received any offers, or when they have declined the offers they have received. This can be done through the clearing option using UCAS Track. Find out more here:


Other options?

There are many other options that include: retaking exams and applying next year, doing an apprenticeship, requesting a remark, or going into full-time work.


Thinking about the future

Well done to everyone whose results went well! Embarking on a new adventure at university is a rewarding experience. If students didn’t achieve they grades they were hoping for, then don’t worry. Explore every possibility, stay calm, and remember there are always other options. 


Are effort grades harming our children?

Gill Robin's book, "Praise, Motivation and the Child," suggests there are two models of teaching. 

Behaviourism vs Constructivism

Robin's argues that Behaviourism creates extrinsic motivators, while constructivism leads to intrinsic motivators. 

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivators

Whilst I don't believe it is quite as simple as that, nor do I believe the two are mutually exclusive, it does beg the question; what type of students would we rather develop - those who have an intrinsic drive to learn or those who do it for the reward or worse, to avoid a punishment?

With Carole Dweck's Growth Mindset taking schools by storm, many schools have adopted effort grades in attempt to recognise and reward her work. 

Yet studies such as, Cognitive Evaluation Theory, have shown that such an approach could diminish intrinsic motivation; especially if the children believes the only to work harder is for a reward. 

For example, a child receives a sticker for painting. The child believes the reason they are painting is to get a sticker. This interpretation could diminish the child's intrinsic motivation, as the only reason they are painting to receive the reward. 

There is of course, another possibility that the child believes the reason for receiving the sticker was because they are improving at painting. This would produce positive results such as, feelings of competence and pride. 

It is the interpretation from the student that is key. What do they believe?

Edward Deci and Richard Ryan's work on Cognitive Evaluation and Self - Determination Theory led to them identifying 4 learning behaviours. 

Self Determination Theory

Alfie Kohn in "Punished by Rewards," is completely against grading effort. He states, 

"Grades by their very nature make students less inclined to challenge themselves...The fatal paradox though, is that while coercion can sometimes elicit resentful obedience, it can never create desire."

Kohn's concern is that low grade for effort is more likely to read as, "You're a failure at even trying." On the other hand, high grade efforts combined with a low grade for achievement says, "You're just too stupid to succeed." 

Deci and Ryan's suggested solution was to focus on the three primary factors that encourage motivation: 

  1. Autonomy 
  2. Competence
  3. Relatedness

Kohn's three points to motivate students were similar:

  1. Pupil Autonomy
  2. Learning Mastery
  3. The acknowledgement of curiosity 

What do you think - are effort grades the best thing since sliced bread or are they detrimental to students' motivation? 

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