This was one story that did not follow the script. With a change to the structure of A Levels, this year threatened to see a decline in top A Level grades, and yet the proportion of top marks awarded at A-level has risen for the first time in six year. What's more boys turned things on their head, and did better than girls at gaining A and A* grades.
The published national results of 2017’s exams show that in the bulk of subjects the proportion of A and A* grades awarded went up to 26.3%. That is half a percentage point compared with 2016.
That does not mean the worriers were wrong: In the reformed subjects tested in England for the first time this summer, there were fewer top grades, with A and A*s down by 0.7 percentage points compared with 2016.
The two sets of exams showed wide variation in the relative performance of boys and girls. Overall, for the first time in at least seven years, boys outperformed girls in achieving A-A* grades, gaining 26.6% A and A*, compared with 26.1% for girls.
Last year 25.7% of boys were awarded A and A*s – 0.3 points below girls.
However, in the reformed subjects girls did better, with 7.3% awarded the highest A* grade compared with 7% of boys, while the A and A* grades combined were the same for both at 24.3%.
Wales recorded much better results after last year’s disappointing efforts. Just 22.7% of candidates received A or A*s in 2016, this year the proportion rose to 25%, helped by stronger results among boys. The proportion of students in Wales awarded A*-C grades rose above 75%, the highest since 2009.