Summary from Independent U.K
The number of students achieving passes at GCSE has fallen dramatically this year, despite a record number of pupils retaking their exams in the hope of achieving a grade C.
Grade outcomes for all candidates show that the number of A*-C grades have declined by as much as 2.1 percentage points on last year – the biggest ever drop since the exams were introduced more than 25 years ago.
Declining grades in Maths, English, Sciences and languages follow a major Government shake-up of education policies in the past academic year.
Figures released by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), show that the gender gap has increased slightly, with 71.3 per cent of girls’ entries awarded at least a C grade, compared with 62.4 per cent of boys’.
Results for both boys and girls were down on last year however, from 73.1 per cent and 64.7 per cent respectively.
English and maths grades suffered especially, with overall proportion of pupils getting A*-C in English falling by 5.2 per cent, and maths a drop of 2.3 per cent. Combined sciences also experienced a significant drop in pass grades.
The fall in attainment levels are said to be partly due to changes to the education system seen this year.
Students are no longer allowed to leave school before the age of 18, and must achieve at least a grade C in English and maths, leading to a significant rise in the number of 17-year-olds entering for resits this year.
The over-17s cohort can account for the fall in pass grades to some degree, with a drop of -7.6 per cent A*-C grades. But, exam board associates agreed that some of the fall remains unexplained, since year 11 pupils taking their GCSEs for the first time also reflected badly with a fall of 1.3 per cent on last year’s results.
In total, just over two thirds of entries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (66.9 per cent) were awarded A*-C – deemed by schools to be a “good” pass.
Teaching groups have blamed the Government’s recent education reforms, which place an emphasis on maths, English and science over creative subjects and modern foreign languages (MFL).
A total of 5,434,597 GCSE results have been issued today, up on last year’s 5,429,478. School standards minister Nick Gibb said of the results: “The hard work and determination of hundreds of thousands of 16-year-olds will be rewarded today as they collect their GCSE results; qualifications that are the gateway to the next stage of their education.