Dramatic decline in GCSE grades awarded

College students

This year’s wave of GCSE results brings with it a significant drop in results, as the proportion of students awarded A* to C grades has dropped by a record 2.1 per cent compared to last year.

It now stands at 66.9%, with the number of people gaining a C grade or above in English especially low. The proportion of people achieving A* grades has also dropped by 0.1 per cent.

The unprecedented drop in grades is thought to be the result of a new government policy forcing 17-year-olds who failed to get a C grade or above in maths or English to re-sit their exams. As a result, more students overall were sitting the tests.

Despite this, some of the decrease is inexplicable. In the pupils taking their exams in year 11, the regular year to take them, there was a 1.3 per cent decrease in the proportion of students gaining A*-C grades.

There was a 32 per cent increase in the number of students sitting their maths GCSE this year, and yet less than one third got a grade A* to C, compared to more than 70 per cent last year.

For the fifth year running there has been a drop in the number of A* grades received, with a total of 6.5 per cent of entries getting the highest mark, dropping by 0.1 per cent from last year.

Michael Turner, director general of the JCQ, said: “There is significant movement in this year’s entries, which impacts on results and creates a very complex national picture.

“We have seen shifts not only between subjects, but also across qualifications and year groups. This is driven by several factors, including performance measures and re-sit policies in England.”

Nick Gibb, School standards Minister was pleased to see that the core academic subjects were being taken more, as it gives students a wider range of opportunities.

“And for those 17-year-olds who have struggled to achieve good grades in maths, we are seeing 4,000 more successful re-takes of those exams; delivering better prospects for every one of those young people.‎”