GCSEs at a glance

With over 5 million GCSE results published, 2015 has again seen a rise in the overall number of students gaining A-C grades but with a drop in top level A*-A grades.

Nationally, 68.8% of entries gained an A* to C grade with London seeing the best results; 72% achieving A* to C grades.

GCSE passes in England and Wales went on the rise again this year aided by an increase in the numbers achieving at least a grade C in English.

Results in maths also improved on those gained in 2014, with the proportion getting an A*-C by more than 1%.

A trend that continues to worry the Department for Education however, is the decline in numbers entering modern foreign language exams. The take up of French and German has seen numbers dwindling over the last decade but this year also saw less numbers taking Spanish which had previously seen a rise in popularity.

But the sciences seemed to have reversed the trend of years gone by with an increased number of entries.

In the middle of stories of success and improvement, there has also been a cause for concern. Results for this year’s IGCSE in English have plummeted.  In some cases, the proportion of students gaining an A*-to-C grade is almost 20 percentage points below expectations. This has prompted calls for an investigation into the results.

Large numbers of state schools opted to switch to the IGCSE which retains the coursework element and the speaking and listening assessment the emitted from the English GCSE.

The exam board (Cambridge) explained that marking boundaries had changed to reflect the difficulty level of the paper but this does not fall in line with what Headteachers have experienced.

School leaders have voiced their concern over this as such a drop in results could trigger Ofsted inspections.

In reference back to a previous CHTA blog post about GSCE reforms, exam boards say this year’s results have been influenced by these changes with fewer 14 and 15-year-olds  taking GCSEs early as well as an increase in 17-year-olds having to re-sit maths and English to gain at least a C grade.

Emma Williams