A-level Examinations

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Part
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Exams

While there is no pre-existing information to fully answer your question, we've used the available data to pull together key findings regarding the number of schools and students involved in the A-level exam in the UK, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Data regarding the average number of qualifications was largely unavailable, but we’ve determined that A-level exams were administered in 4,785 UK schools, 244 European (non-UK) schools, 714 Asian schools, 210 Middle East schools, 105 African schools, 42 North American schools, and 94 South American schools.

As requested, we have added all figures to the attached spreadsheet.
Below you'll find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why information you've requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.

METHODOLOGY

In order to answer your query, we searched data from Cambridge International and Edexcel International, the two governing bodies for the A-level exams. In addition, we also consulted the WENR database of global education data.

Despite an exhaustive search of data from Cambridge International, the ICEF, the British Council and numerous other sources, no solid data was available regarding the average number of qualifications for any region. Also, student numbers were not available, so we have provided rough estimates, where possible—in the instances where providing an estimate was not possible, we have marked the cell as N/A.

Please note that in the UK, A-levels are administered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland—therefore, in order to provide you with numbers for the UK, we looked at individual numbers for each country and added them up. Please keep in mind that average qualifications were only available for England—which we offer as a proxy for the UK, as a whole.

A-LEVELS IN THE UK

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
In order to calculate the number of schools, we located the number of schools individually in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are as follows:

England: 4,426
Wales: 200
Northern Ireland: 159

In total, the number of schools in the UK that administered A-levels in 2017 was 4,785.

NUMBER OF STUDENTS
Similarly, in order to calculate the number of schools, we located the number of schools individually in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are as follows:

England: 185,000
Wales: 24,194
Northern Ireland: 28,478

In total, the number of students in the UK that took A-levels in 2016/2017 reached 237,672.

AVERAGE NUMBER OF QUALIFICATIONS
Since the only average number of qualifications available were for England that number has been provided—2.58 for 2017.

A-LEVELS IN EUROPE (EXCLUDING THE UK)

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
As of 2014, there were 1,497 international schools in Europe. Since they were growing at a CAGR of 5.24% annually, this would mean that by 2017, the number of international schools would be 1,744 (1,497 x 1.0524^3).

Of these, 14% offer A-level examinations; therefore, 1,744 x 0.14 = 244.

A-LEVELS IN MIDDLE EAST

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
As of 2017, there were 1,500 international schools, of which 14% offer A-levels; therefore, 1,500 x 0.14 = 210

A-LEVELS IN AFRICA

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
As of 2014, there were 648 international schools in Africa. Since they were growing at a CAGR of 5.24% annually, this would mean that the number of international schools by 2017 would be 755 (648 x 1.0524^3).

Of these, 14% offer A-level examinations, so 755 x 0.14 = 105.

A-LEVELS IN ASIA

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
Asia had 3,766 international schools in 2014.

A 2018 article by Relocate Magazine states that figures have grown 32% in East Asia and 39% in Southeast Asia. Using the median 35.5% ((32+39)/2), we can estimate the total number of international schools in Asia to be about 5,102 (3,766 x .355). If 14% of those are offering the A-level exams, that comes to 714 schools (5,102 x .14).

NUMBER OF STUDENTS
In Singapore, 12,538 students sat for the GCE A-level exam in 2016, and nearly 93% passed.

In 2016, India saw 79,000 entries for the Cambridge IGCSE and International AS- and A-Level exams at 400 schools.

Asia’s total population is about 4,536,000,000.

At 5,791,901, Singapore makes up roughly 0.13% of the Asian population, while India’s 1,354,051,854 makes up about 29.85%.

So, together, Singapore and India make up roughly 30% of Asia’s population.

Singapore and India together had 91,538 students take the A-level exams. If we assume 91,538 represents 30% of the Asian total, then the number of Asian students taking the A-level exams would be 305,126 (100/30 x 91,538).

A-LEVELS IN NORTH AMERICA

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
Most of the information on the A-level tests with regard to North America has to do with the number of schools that accept A-level results as a qualification for entry, rather than data on the number of students in North American taking these exams. In the US, A-level exam results are recognized by over 500 institutions.

Cambridge International, one of the two entities that administer the A-level exams opened its first US office in 2015. Over 300 schools in the United States offer the Cambridge programs and qualifications, though data specifically regarding the A-level exam was unavailable.

One school in Toronto, Canada offers the Cambridge International programs and qualifications, based on data found at the Cambridge school finder. The WENR database relating to education in Canada offered no additional insights into A-level testing.

Therefore, there are a total of 301 (300+1) North American Cambridge schools. According to ICEF Monitor, 14% of international schools take the GCE A-level exams.

Applying this figure, we can estimate that around 42 schools offer the A-level exams (301 x 0.14).

NUMBER OF STUDENTS
In terms of students, there were 87,475 A-level examination entries in the US for Cambridge International in 2015. With a population of 326 million, the US makes up about 58% of the North American population of 565 million.

If we assume the 87,475 US students who took the A-level exam represent 58% of the North American total, then we can estimate that 150,818 North American students took the exams (100/58 x 87,475).

A-LEVELS IN SOUTH AMERICA

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
By the end of 2014, there were 7,200 international schools with the total expected to reach 12,000 by 2024. Using this data, we can determine a CAGR of 5.24%. Using that figure, we can estimate 8,392 schools in 2017.

Confirming this figure, a 2017 article by the Atlantic states there are 8,000 schools serving 4.5 million students. ICEF states that the Americas (North and South) had 836 international schools in 2014. Using the CAGR of 5.24%, we come to 974 schools in 2017 (836 x 1.0524^3).

As noted previously, 301 of those are in North America. That would leave 673 schools in South America (974-301). If we apply 14% to 673, we can estimate that 94 South American schools offer the A-level exams.

Cambridge International makes up 325 of the international schools in Latin America, 212 of which are in Argentina. In Mexico, there are 13 Cambridge International schools in 6 cities, which would offer the A-level testing, according to the Cambridge website search feature.

CONCLUSION

To wrap up, while there is no pre-existing information to fully answer your question, we've used the available data to determine that A-level exams were administered in 4,785 UK schools, 244 European (non-UK) schools, 714 Asian schools, 210 Middle East schools, 105 African schools, 42 North American schools, and 94 South American schools. All figures have been added to the attached spreadsheet.
Sources
Sources