GCSE results: Pass rates and tip grades corner upwards

Grace Murray (left) and Lucy Garside applaud with their GCSE formula during Norwich School in Norwich, Norfolk.Image copyright
PA Media

There has been a slight boost in a GCSE pass rate and a commission of tip grades this year, notwithstanding concerns about a problem of exams.

The pass rate edged adult to 67.3% in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – adult 0.4 commission points on final year.

The commission of papers given a tip class (7 or A and above) rose 0.3 commission points to 20.8% on 2018.

The arise comes as conduct teachers in England warned callous GCSEs were demoralising some candidates.

More than 700,000 teenagers are receiving their GCSE formula in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, after a fibre of reforms to a exams system.

Exam play and examination regulators make efforts to reason standards solid so as not to waste tyro sitting new exams.

A new numerical grading complement and worse exams have been introduced in England, while elsewhere many GCSEs are still graded A* to G.

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In England, 837 possibilities got a purify brush of 9s – a really tip class – in all their subjects.

However, conduct teachers have warned that some lower-attaining pupils have been so artificial they refused to lay a exams or even their mocks.

Why pass rates never change much

England’s exams regulator Ofqual and a exams house insist they are gripping standards a same over time by a complement of allied outcomes.

Exam play do this by creation adjustments to class bounds during a imprinting process, carrying married a problem of papers with a likely ability of a organisation of students sitting a exams.

This means a percentages achieving opposite grades nationally never changes really most from year to year.

But where exams are viewed harder, a class bounds might be lowered. For example, on Pearson/Edexcel’s aloft maths paper, a pass symbol – (a 4 in England) – was only 22%.


Schools Minister Nick Gibb pronounced a allied outcomes complement ensured that possibilities were not treated foul by a lifting of standards.

But Geoff Barton, ubiquitous secretary of a heads’ kinship ASCL, pronounced while a increasing cold might have been in a seductiveness of a some-more means students, it had come during a responsibility of a some-more exposed ones.

He called for a exams to be tweaked to make them “less of an ordeal” and pronounced a some-more “humane way” to consider a abilities of immature people was required.

How tough are a GCSEs?

An painting of how tough some of these exams were is shown by where class bounds were set for Pearson/Edexcel’s scholarship papers.

In a chemistry paper, a pass was awarded during 22.5% while those removing a class 9 (the homogeneous of an A**) could means to get 20% of a paper wrong – as a really tip class was awarded during 80%.

In physics, a pass symbol was 26.5% – and to get a 7 (formerly an A), 62% was required. Grade 9 possibilities indispensable to get 77% of a paper correct.

While in French, for a same examination board, a pass was a magnitude of 30% and a class 9 was 81%.

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The National Education Union warned of a impact these worse exams were carrying on tyro mental health and wellbeing, adding that many immature people were left feeling “disillusioned, unattached and stressed”.

And a National Association of Head Teachers pronounced there was a risk a “general” component of a GCSE was being lost, that was a “disservice to all concerned”.

Other pivotal facts

There were an estimated 5.2 million GCSE entries – adult 50,000 on 2018, a 1.4% rise, reflecting a 1.5% arise in a 16 year-old population.

But entries in some subjects, particularly those enclosed in a English Baccalaureate (EBacc) organisation now used as a propagandize opening measure, are rising during a faster rate:

  • English: 4.4%
  • maths: 4.2%
  • double science: 4.8%
  • history: 7.1%
  • geography: 3.4%
  • modern languages: 3%
  • computer science: 7.2%

Art and pattern also saw an increase, of 9.5%, as other homogeneous humanities subjects declined.

The formula also show:

  • Boys continue to do improved than girls in maths
  • Boys continue to do improved than girls in production and chemistry though by reduction than in 2018
  • Girls continue to do improved than boys in biology though by reduction than in 2018.

Are your GCSE formula not what we expected? If we didn’t get what we were anticipating for, get in hold and put your questions on what to do subsequent to a experts. A preference will be answered in a coverage. Email

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