LONDON, Aug. 14, 2020 (Xinhua) -- People take part in a demonstration outside the Department of Education in London, Britain, on Aug. 14, 2020. The British government announced Wednesday a last-minute
LONDON, Aug. 14, 2020 (Xinhua) -- People take part in a demonstration outside the Department of Education in London, Britain, on Aug. 14, 2020. The British government announced Wednesday a last-minute "triple lock" for A-level and GCSE students, which could raise replacement grades for exams cancelled in the COVID-19 pandemic. The move will benefit pupils who have been unable to sit GCSE or A-level exams during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is crucial in deciding how best to continue their education, where to look for work or training, or which college or university course to apply to. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)

GCSE students in Britain have received higher grades Thursday as the number of those achieving the top mark and the passing grade both surged.

Official results show that 78.8 percent of GCSE students in England achieved the passing grade, marking an increase of 8.9 percentage points on last year’s 69.9 percent.

The number of students who get the top grades has surged by 40 percent over last year.

Over 600,000 pupils in Britain are receiving their GCSE marks Thursday, after a difficult year for schools given exams and most teaching were scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GCSE is the qualification taken by students to mark their graduation from the Key Stage Four phase of secondary education.

The British government has been under mounting pressure since last Thursday when it emerged that nearly 40 percent of A-level results were downgraded by the computer-based model to standardize results.

The downgraded results caused an outcry among many parents and students as many British university places are based on A-level exams results.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who is facing criticism from students and parents, had to replace the algorithm with school-assessed grades and apologised for the hurt caused to pupils by the chaos.

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