Thursday, 24 August 2017

GCSE Results 2017

GCSE results are out today, with a fragmented set of exams now being sat across the UK. In England, new GCSE courses have been designed to be more challenging. Overall across the UK, the pass rate has dropped across the full range of subjects, from 66.9% to 66.3% of entries. A pass under the old system was a C grade; under the new system of grades from 1 to 9 (with 9 the best), a 4 is considered a standard pass.

In England the pass rate for maths, one of the new tougher exams, it dropped slightly from 71.4% to 70.7%. The proportion of entries receiving the top grades (A/7 or above) has also fallen, to 20%, down 0.5 percentage points on last year, the lowest since 2007.

However, exam boards appear to have worked the grade boundaries to ensure the distribution of grades is broadly consistent with last year's. For example, on the higher tier maths paper, a grade 4 pass would have been achieved with just 18% of the overall marks. For a grade 9, 79% mark was required. For a grade 7, the equivalent of an A, candidates needed just over half marks.

Students and teachers have complained about a lack of textbooks and practice papers in the run-up to the summer exams.

In Northern Ireland and Wales, exams are still graded A* to G. In Northern Ireland, female students continue to outperform their male counterparts at this level, with an 8.1% difference in the pass rate (A*-C). One in ten entries are now awarded the top A* grade here.

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