150 A-level students identified as non-binary this year

More than 150 students identified as non-binary when sitting their A-level exams this year, according to two of the UK’s leading exam boards.

It’s the first time that the number of non-binary A-level candidates has been publicly shared since exam boards Edexcel and OCR made changes to the the way they classify gender in 2018.

The changes mean that students who don’t identify as “male” or “female” can opt out of the binary system and choose a gender-neutral option instead.

Edexcel also removed gender categories completely from the documents that students receive on A-level results day with their grades.

“We have removed the gender flag altogether from the documents students receive from us, and we are giving students the option of removing the male/female flag on our qualifications systems by requesting this through their school or college,” a spokesperson told The Telegraph.

Information about students’ gender lets exam boards compare results between genders and follow trends over time, like how many girls take science subjects.

Non-binary numbers won’t affect overall A-level trends.

But the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) said that the introduction of a gender-neutral option would not affect these trends since the numbers are too small to have an impact on aggregated data.

A spokesman for OCR said: “This is an important area that we keep under constant review. All OCR’s results are ‘gender free’; a student’s gender does not appear on any results documentation, including their certificates.

“When schools entered their students for our GCSE and A Level exams this summer, they have the option to put M, F or N (standing for none specified) for their candidates.”

When the changes were announced in August 2018, a JCQ spokesperson said, “Schools and colleges enter students for examinations and designate a gender for their candidates.

“Where a candidate has no designated gender, JCQ does not enter their results for national reporting.

“The number of candidates is small and does not have a material impact on the aggregated results.

“Awarding bodies continue to work towards supporting non-binary candidates.”