GCSE results show a fall in grades

The release of the GCSE results today has revealed a significant fall in grades when compared to last year

More than five million students have today received their GCSE results. Following the decline of the A-level results published last week it will undoubtedly be disappointing for the education sector to learn GCSE grades also fell this year.

According to the data the number of students achieving A* to C saw a 2.1 per cent fall, reaching 66.9 per cent. Furthermore, the top students also fell with A* grades slipping by 0.1 per cent to 6.5.

The fall in grades has been blamed on the proportion of pupils across England retaking English and mathematics. This was part of government plans to ensure children gained grades A* to C in core subjects, meaning tens of thousands of pupils who missed these grades last year had to re-sit this year. Pupils retaking these subjects after Year 11 made up 380,000 GCSE entries—up by a quarter when compared to last year.

However, even with re-sits GCSE grades saw a decline with the number of 16 year olds gaining A* to C falling by 1.3 per cent. Mathematics, English, history and Geography also saw the proportion of passes fall.

Other UK nations saw a slight increase in their results, with the pass rate in Northern Ireland increasing slightly to 79.1 per cent and A* grades growing to 9.3 per cent. The pass rate in Wales stayed at 66.6 per cent, but A* grades rose to 6.1 per cent.

This year represents the last before changes in how GCSEs are graded come into force. Rather than letters, exams will be graded using numbers.

Speaking ahead of the results, Chris Keates, leader of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said: “This apparently minor change masks the most substantial reform in a quarter of a century to the key general qualification offered to learners in England.”

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