2019 provisional national results for GCSEs have been published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Reforms are complete in Wales and those in England are complete with the exception of a few lesser taught languages. New GCSEs in Northern Ireland have been awarded for the first time, alongside other reformed GCSEs. The 9-1 grade scale in England, which was first introduced in 2017 to the phase one subjects, is now used by nearly all subjects in England. The grade scale for GCSEs reformed for Wales remains unchanged (A*-G). This year, A* in Northern Ireland has been recalibrated to align with the grade 9 standard in England. C* has also been introduced this year, to broadly align with the grade 5.
Attached are summaries of the data for England, Wales and Northern Ireland - a summary of the key points for overall UK results can be found below:
- Overall GCSE entries in the UK have increased slightly by 1.4% (from 5470076 to 5547447).
- This is against a 1.5% increase in the 16-year-old population.
- Overall results remain stable with small increases at grades 7/A (0.3 percentage point increase to 20.8%) and 4/C A (0.4 percentage point increase to 67.3%), with no change in the proportion of students achieving at least a grade 1/G (98.3%).
- Females continue to outperform males at both the 7/A boundary (21.1% vs. 17.6%) and the 4/C boundary (71.7% vs. 62.9%), although the gap has narrowed at the 4/C boundary since last year.
- Some subjects have seen large increases in entries such as: Art and Design (+9.5%); Computing (+7.2%); History (+7.1%); Business Studies (+4.5%); English (+4.4%) and English Literature (+3.8%); Science Double Award (+4.8%); Mathematics (+4.2%); MFLs (+3.5%); and Geography (+3.4%).
- Subjects that have seen large decreases in entries included: Engineering (- 31.1%); Design & Technology (-21.7%); and Music (-2.2%).
- English Literature entries for 15-year olds (and under) increased by 17.9% this year.
- Of those sixteen-year-olds taking English language, 70.2% achieved a 4/C compared to 69.6% last summer. For those aged 17 or above, the pass rate this year at 4/C, was just 31.9%, versus 34.2% last year.
- For English Literature and Language, females continue to outperform males at the top grades.
- English Literature: 26.5% of females achieved 7/A compared to 14.5% of males; the gap increased slightly by 0.2ppt
- English: 18.7% of females achieved 7/A compared to 9.6% of males; the gap increased slightly by 0.2ppt
- Maths entries for 15-year olds (and under) declined by 11.3%, whilst 17 and older candidate entries increased by 4.9%.
- This may be due to a range of factors including changes in early entry policies in Wales, a continuation from last year of a dip in 15-year old entries (with students entered at 16 instead) and a slight increase in 17-year-old resits.
- Of those 16-year-olds taking maths, 70.8% achieved a grade 4 compared to 70.1% last summer. For those aged 17 or above, the pass rate this year was just 22.3%, versus 23.7% last year.
- Males continue to outperform females at 7/A (16.7% vs. 15.5%), although the gap has narrowed slightly, with the outcomes for females improving by 0.6ppt compared to only 0.1ppt for males.
- Science Double award entries increased by 4.8%, while individual Biology, Chemistry and Physics increased by 0.6%, 1.0% and 1.1% respectively.
- The proportion of students achieving a 7/A increased by 0.8ppt in Biology and Chemistry and by 1.3ppt in Physics.
- Females outperformed males at 7/A boundary in Biology (44.3% vs. 40.5%), Chemistry (45.3% vs. 43.0%) and Science: Double Award (8.8% vs. 6.8%) but males continue to outperform females in Physics (45.9% vs. 42.0%), although the gap has narrowed.
- Computing entries increased by 7.2% overall, with female entries up by 14.0%, although they remain only 21.4% of the total entry.
- Females continue to outperform males at the 7/A boundary (24.9% vs. 20.8%)
- According to Ofqual, just under 4,500 students were ungraded on the higher tier this year, out of a total entry of over 140,000 (circa 3% of the entries). This follows Ofqual's decision not to have another year of an extended 'safety net' of 3-3.
Modern Foreign Languages
- Total entries in MFL increased again this year by 3.0%, following a small rise in entries last year of 0.4%. However, there is variation within this:
- French remains the most popular MFL at GCSE, with entries increasing by 3.2%
- Spanish entries increased by 7.5%; exceeding the 100,000 barrier for the first time
- However German entries declined by 3.9%
- Outcomes for the main MFL subjects were relatively stable, with small improvements seen in German (up 0.7ppt at 7/A boundary, and 0.5ppt at the 4/C boundary), and a slight decrease in Spanish at 7/A boundary (down 0.4ppt)
Read the full list of provisional national results here.
Country-specific GCSE result summaries can be found below.
 French, German & Spanish
First published 05 September 2019