Nearly 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 fewer high GCSE grades predicted as exams return

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op grades awarded to this yr’s GCSE college students will fall, with extra pupils failing and a slight narrowing of the ladies’ lead over boys, an training knowledgeable has steered.

In keeping with the transfer again in direction of pre-pandemic grading, there may very well be some 230,000 fewer high grades within the UK in contrast with 2021, however 230,000 greater than 2019, Professor Alan Smithers predicted.

The director of the Centre for Schooling and Employment Analysis on the College of Buckingham mentioned the sample was more likely to be just like the change seen in A-level outcomes on Thursday, when grades fell from pandemic highs, however remained above 2019 ranges.

Exams returned this yr for the primary time since 2019 (Chris Radburn/PA) / PA Archive

Final yr, the proportion of GCSE entries awarded high grades surged to an all-time excessive after exams have been cancelled for the second yr in a row on account of Covid-19 and college students have been as an alternative given outcomes decided by their academics.

Total, 28.9% of UK GCSE entries have been awarded one of many high grades, up by 2.7 share factors on 2020.

In 2019, when exams have been final held, solely a fifth (20.8%) of entries achieved at the very least a 7 or an A grade.

Prof Smithers mentioned this yr, which is anticipated to see grades moved again to round midway between these of 2021 and 2019, will imply disappointment for a lot of.

He mentioned: “In 2022, we will moderately anticipate to see a drop in high grades, with many extra failing to achieve the cross stage (C/4).

“In England, the largest share fall shall be at Grade 9s and plenty of extra will fall under Grade 4.

“We will take the A-level outcomes as pointers. At A-level, the highest grades have been lower, however not so far as the Authorities was wanting, I believe as a result of excessive marks have been scored within the simpler exams and decrease grades for larger marks goes to be troublesome to defend on attraction.”

He mentioned he expects ladies to stay “a good distance forward of boys with solely a small narrowing of the hole from the return to exams”.

Within the newest A-level outcomes, ladies continued to outperform boys total, though the hole grew smaller.

The proportion of ladies who obtained A or above was 2.2 share factors larger than boys this yr, in contrast with a 4.8 share factors distinction final yr.

Ladies have been so much additional forward at GCSE than at A-level, so I’d not anticipate to see a big influence on GCSEs, particularly with the modified exams

As with A-levels, further assist was offered for GCSE college students with the return to exams, together with extra beneficiant grading, advance info on matters, formulae and equation sheets for  GCSE maths, physics and mixed science exams.

Prof Smithers mentioned: “Ladies have been so much additional forward at GCSE than at A-level, so I’d not anticipate to see a big influence on GCSEs, particularly with the modified exams.”

Figures overlaying GCSE entries from college students in England, Wales and Northern Eire shall be revealed by the Joint Council for {Qualifications} (JCQ) on Thursday.

Whereas conventional A*-G grades are utilized in Northern Eire and Wales, in England these have been changed in with a 9-1 system, the place 9 is the best.

A 4 is broadly equal to a C grade, and a 7 is broadly equal to an A.


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