According to statistics for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, English and maths GCSE results have improved this year. A* – C grades for maths have increased 0.9 percentage points to 63.3%, whilst ‘good passes’ for GCSE English saw an even greater improvement, rising 3.7 percentage points to 65.4%.
Experts are citing a number of reasons for the increase in A* – C grades across the board. Joint Council for Qualifications Director General, Michael Turner, suggests that educational policies have clearly affected results at a subject level, as well as qualification entry patterns. He says that this effect is “…particularly the case for English, mathematics and the sciences”.
There is concern however, regarding the drop in pass rates for those who have taken GCSE English and maths resits aged 17 – the rate for GCSE Maths has fallen by 3.1% whilst GCSE English has fallen 2.8%. In response to these statistics, the AELP have called for a rethink on mandatory GCSE resits for learners taking FE and skills courses who don’t have a grade C in maths and/or English. Paul Warner, AELP Director of Employment and Skills, stated that the fall in pass rate for those aged 17 ‘suggests that a lot of people who are being made to resit would be better off taking another route.’
A number of examining boards have suggested that the Governments discouragement of early GCSE entry has contributed to an increase in good passes across the board – fewer pupils aged 15 and below have taken their GCSEs early this year.
Across all subjects, the proportion of GCSE A* – C grades has risen this year to 69%, a 0.1% increase on 2013/14 figures, yet A* grades have seen a slight decline of 0.1 percentage points.