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News - 22 August 2013

GCSEs 2013: The results are in.


For the second consecutive year, there has been a drop in the proportion of GCSE exam entries awarded top grades.

More than 600,000 teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their results, about two-thirds of exam entries were graded between an A* and a C - a fall on last year. And the proportion getting an A* or an A fell from 22.4% to 21.3%.

The results - released by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) - also show more pupils are taking exams early (particularly in maths and English), a rise in re-sits and teenagers being entered for more than one exam in the same subject. JCQ say that these early entries are partly responsible for the drop in results because 16-year-olds are outperforming younger pupils, together with falls in science grades.

In English, the proportion of entries awarded A*s to Cs fell by 0.5 percentage points, to 63.6%. In maths, the fall was 0.8 percentage points.

There was a big fall in pupils getting top grades in all the sciences, following the introduction of new syllabuses and exams.

This year 53.1% of science entries were awarded between an A* and a C, down from 60.7% last year. That drop - of 7.6 percentage points - was the biggest fall in top results across all the subjects.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“Smaller falls were seen in the separate sciences and in additional science too, but the results also show an increase in those taking humanities and foreign languages, French, German and Spanish - are up by 16.9%, and entries for geography jumped by 19.2% this year, while those for history rose 16.7%.”

Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said: "It is very pleasing to see the increase in these important subjects - the ones that will keep pupils' options open in the future. I am particularly delighted to see a languages revival.

Michael Turner, director of the JCQ, said: "There are many underlying factors affecting this year's GCSEs, including a sizeable increase in entry by 15-year-olds, new science specifications designed with greater challenge, early and multiple entry in mathematics and an increase in the number of students taking IGCSEs [international GCSEs]. All of these have had an impact on results."

After years of steady increase in GCSE grades, we have seen two years of falls in England.
Various factors seem to be at play - tougher science papers will play a part and marking and grading in English have also been tightened.

The exam boards are also pointing to a growing trend towards students being entered "early" for some subjects - especially maths, English and science - and say younger exam candidates are doing worse than 16-year-olds.

Some schools see this as a way of bright pupils "banking" good results early so they can concentrate on other GCSEs the following year.

If you need any help and advice with Free School or Academy Schools, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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