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GCSE entries and outcomes 2016

The 2016 UK provisional GCSE results have been published today. 

Overall performance declined

  • A* grades declined 0.1 percentage points (ppt) since last year, to 6.5%
  • A* – A grades declined 0.7 ppt to 20.5%
  • A* - C grades declined 2.1 percentage points to 66.9%
  • However when looking only at outcomes for 16 years olds the reduction is less pronounced.

Maths and English outcomes were affected by changing entry patterns

  • Entry patterns changed due to the new policy requirement for students in England to continue studying England and Maths post 16 if they haven't achieve at least a grade C; Entries by 17 year olds (and older) in Mathematics increased by 32.6%, and in English by 31.9%, compared with 2015.
  • These changes are likely to have contributed to the overall decline in outcomes for both subjects: there was a 6.3 ppt drop in mathematics A* - C grades (to 61.0%) and a 5.2 ppt drop in English A* - C grades (to 60.2%)
  • However, looking only at outcomes for 16 year olds, the proportion achieving grades A* - C in maths increased by 1.4 ppt (to 70.5%). While the proportion of 16 year olds achieving grades A* - C in English saw a decline, but a smaller one than for all students (1.3 ppt, to 71.3%).

Science entries increased, but outcomes declined

  • The number of entries in Biology, Chemistry and Physics rose by 3.6%, 5.7% and 4.6% respectively, while entries for the combined sciences grew by 10.5%
  • However the proportion achieving grades A* - C is down in all of these subjects; Biology is down 0.4 ppt, Chemistry 0.9 ppt and Physics 1.1 ppt. In the combined sciences, A* - C grades in Science are down 3.8 ppt, and in Additional science down 3.5 ppt.
  • These changes are likely to be due to more lower ability students taking these subjects than previously.

Entries to other EBacc subjects vary, but all outcomes decline

  • Entries in History are up 7.0%, and in Geography up 5.5%, however in Modern Foreign Languages only entries in Spanish saw an increase (of 2.1%) while French and German entries declined by 8.1% and 7.0% respectively.
  • A* - C outcomes in all of the above subjects have declined; History is down 3.0 ppt, Geography 2.8 ppt, Spanish 2.3 ppt, French 1.1 ppt and German 0.6 ppt.
  • In the case of History, Geography and Spanish this decline is likely to be as a result of the rise in entries leading to a more varied ability cohort.

Entries to Non-EBacc subjects decline, with slight declines in outcomes

  • There have been declines in entries to Design and Technology (by 10%), Art and Design (by 6%), Music (by 5%) and Drama (by 4%).
  • Except for Design and Technology (which saw a 0.1 ppt increase) outcomes in these subjects have seen small declines; Art and Design is down 0.5 ppt, music is down 0.6 ppt, and drama down 0.4 ppt,

Additionally, Ofqual have released data on the variability of GCSE results for individual schools and colleges. Some year on year variation is normal, and these graphs show that this year there is less variation than last year in both England and Maths, with little change in the amount of variation in other subjects.​