Research and analysis

Variability in GCSE results for schools, 2016 to 2018

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

Documents

Variability in GCSE results for schools and colleges: 2016 to 2018

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Details

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 the reformed GCSE 9 to 1 subjects that were awarded for the first time this summer, compared to the reformed GCSE 9 to 1 subjects first awarded in 2017. This is not unexpected since there have been changes to the structure of these qualifications compared to the legacy qualifications.

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 or 9 to 4. 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 20 subjects, graded 9 to 1, were 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 9 of these subjects.

We have also analysed the year-on-year variation in the percentage of students achieving grades 9 to 4 or A* to C in the 3 reformed subjects that were awarded for the first time in 2017. For English language and mathematics, the 2017 data includes students sitting the reformed 9 to 1 qualifications and students sitting the legacy A* to C qualifications.

Published 23 August 2018