23 August 2017

Details of GCSE results have been released today. A summary of this can be found below:

Introduction

This year’s results are the first to include the new 9-1 grading for Maths, English Literature and English Language. Reformed GCSEs are more challenging and better differentiate between the higher performing candidates. The new grading scale cannot be compared with the old one other than cumulatively at A/7 C/4 and G/1 grades. The anchoring of these key grades enables a reference point between old and new specifications and ensure students sitting the first exams won’t be disadvantaged. Grading for GCSEs in Wales and Northern Ireland remains A*-G.

Entries

The overall population of 16 year olds is down 2.7% (E, W and NI). Overall GCSE entries are up 3.9% with a 6.9% rise in 16 year old entries. 17 year old entries are up 6% (predominantly entries in English and Maths) and 15 year old entries are down 44.3%.

English Language and Literature have seen a steep rise in entries this year whilst Maths entries have remained relatively stable. Significant changes in entries can be attributed to changes in performance measures in England (IGCSEs are no longer counted in performance measures and the Progress 8 measure includes a student’s best grade doubled if they sit English Language and Literature resulting in an increase in numbers of students taking English Literature who wouldn’t have taken it previously).

Resit policies requiring students to continue working towards GCSE in English Language and Maths if they hadn’t received a grade C has influenced the increase in entry numbers of 17 year olds.

Overall outcomes

Changes in percentage points year on year at the key grades A/7 C/4 and G/1 show a marginal decrease reflecting the impact of entry pattern changes. The number of grade 9s awarded is 51,000.

English Language

Changes in percentage points year on year at the key grades A/7 C/4 and G/1 for 16 year olds:

A/7 - 2016 to 2017 drop of 0.8 percentage points

C/4 - 2016 to 2017 drop of 1.4 percentage points

G/1 - 2016 to 2017 drop of 0.4 percentage points

Key points include:

  • Entries up 250,000 so a change in outcome expected
  • Analysis shows this year’s entry has a lower prior attainment profile

English Literature

Changes in percentage points year on year at the key grades A/7 C/4 and G/1 for 16 year olds:

A/7 - 2016 to 2017 drop of 1.9 percentage points

C/4 - 2016 to 2017 drop of 2.2 percentage points

G/1 - 2016 to 2017 increase of 1.1 percentage points

  • Change in entry levels (up 160,000) reflects students being entered who previously wouldn’t have been and students who previously would have taken iGCSE
  • Analysis shows that this year’s English Literature entry has a significantly lower prior attainment profile than last year’s hence lower overall results
  • Number of entries dominated by 16 year olds

Maths

Changes in percentage points year on year at the key grades A/7 C/4 and G/1 for 16 year olds:

A/7 - 2016 to 2017 remains the same

C/4 - 2016 to 2017 drops 0.6 percentage points

G/1 - 2016 to 2017 increases 0.8 percentage points

  • Entries are relatively stable
  • Growth in 17 year old (and over) resitting is impacting outcomes

Science

Entries down 27.6%

  • This is being attributed to 15 year olds delaying taking the new Double Science in 2018
  • The overall outcomes are down reflecting loss of high performing 15 year olds
  • 16 year old outcomes are relatively consistent year on year

Modern Foreign Languages

  • All MFL entries are down