More than 600,000 teenagers received their GCSE results on Thursday, but fewer of them will have received the top grades than in previous years. Once again girls have outperformed boys.
The number of pupils achieving high marks dropped for the second time in two years, with the proportion of students awarded a C or above down to 68.1%, a fall of 1.3%, The Telegraph reports.
The fall in top grades has been triggered by an increase in the number of younger pupils taking the exam early, more students taking subjects multiple times, and tougher science papers. Data from the Joint Council for Qualifications showed that A* or A grades fell by 1% to 21.3%, contradicting claims from a leading academic in the lead-up to the results that ‘some candidates are clocking up a host of them like Boy Scout or Girl Guide badges’.
Girls extended their lead over boys, with 72.3% achieving A*-C compared with 63.7% of boys; it may be the last year this happens, as coursework is being dropped in favour of exams. Some subjects saw more entries, including modern languages, separate sciences, history and geography.
Teaching unions said that grades would be hard to compare with other years and NASUWT’s Chris Keates warned that results ‘would be subsumed in the political game playing in which the examination system is now embroiled’.
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