Research and analysis

Variability in GCSE results for schools, 2015 to 2017

Analysis of how results for schools and colleges have changed in recent years.


Variability in GCSE results for schools and colleges: 2015 to 2017

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GCSE results in England have been relatively stable in recent years, with only very small changes in the overall percentages of students achieving grades A* to C. However, we know that individual schools and colleges will always see variation in the proportion of students achieving particular grades from one year to the next. This can be due to many different factors, including differences in the ability mix of the students, different teaching approaches, changes in teaching staff or teaching time, and changes to qualifications.

This summer, new GCSE qualifications in English language, English literature and mathematics, graded 9-1, are being awarded for the first time. We have analysed the year-on-year variation in the percentage of students achieving grades 9 to 4 or A* to C in these subjects. Like last year, we have also looked at the year-on-year variation in English language across GCSE and level 1/2 certificates, as many students took these GCSE alternatives in 2015 and 2016. The removal of level 1/2 certificates from performance tables this summer has resulted in the majority of 16-year-old students taking GCSEs this summer.

Key points

  1. Some variation in year-on-year results for individual schools and colleges is normal.
  2. Overall, the level of variation is generally similar to last year.
  3. There is slightly more variation in science outcomes for all students. This is likely to be due to the decrease in year 10 entries this summer.

Interactive analytics

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Published 24 August 2017