Hong Kong: 2019 IGCSE Results Revealed!

As Hong Kong students settle into the new academic year, the results for the 2019 IGCSEs have been released. How did students in Hong Kong perform? Which schools have published their results?
Hong Kong: 2019 IGCSE Results Revealed!
By Carli Allan
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IGCSE results at Hong Kong’s international schools are in – and there’s a high percentage of students achieving the top grades of A* and 9. The IGCSE results for schools including Kellett School, ESF's Sha Tin College and South Island School, French International School, Harrow International School, Nord Anglia International School, Yew Cheung International School, and Singapore International School are detailed below.

2019 sees big changes for students sitting GCSE and IGCSE exams worldwide. Many results have been graded using the new grading structure of 9-1, introduced last year, instead of A*-G. These include maths, English languages and sciences. Not only has the grading format changed, but the way students achieve their results has changed too – resulting in less coursework, and a much stronger focus on written examinations.

This is the second year that most Hong Kong schools have had I/GCSE examinations graded using both the A*-G or 9 to 1 grading systems. To highlight the shift towards the new 9-1 system, the English Schools Foundation, which has five secondary schools offering IGCSEs, has reported that 4,200 exams were graded using 9 to 1 (compared to only 704 in 2018) and 4,110 exams were graded using A*-G. 

In total, over 700,000 students in the UK and overseas will have sat the new tougher examinations. Over 5 million GCSE and IGCSE exams are awarded using the 9–1 grading scale worldwide, including in the UK, making it the most used and recognised grading scale for GCSE and IGCSE globally.

There has been some considerable controversy over the change to the GCSE framework. Some headteachers have said that lower-attaining students have been demoralised, with 554 respondents to a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders in England saying that the new exams, which cover a wider syllabus, were harder.

According to the UK’s Department of Education, “the new GCSE’s have been reformed to cover more challenging content to ensure students are prepared for the world of work and further study”.

Schools in Hong Kong work with two main IGCSE examination boards, Cambridge and Pearson Edexcel, which have adopted the 9-1 grading scale to award some International GCSE qualifications across South East Asia. Last year, only English and Mathematics International GCSEs were awarded using the new 9-1 grading scale. This year’s Pearson Edexcel International GCSE results have seen the scale being applied to all other subjects as well, and Cambridge to many of its subjects. 

A statement from Pearson reports:" “By using this method of grading, it is ensured that the grading meets the same standards as Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) set in the UK for GCSE, so students can successfully progress to qualifications such as GCE A level, International A level and on to university”.

For more information about IGCSEs, click here.

For students who have received their GCSE and IGCSE results this summer, they are the pathway to future studies post-16 and beyond. Many universities and colleges look at GCSE and IGCSE results as an indicator of previous academic achievement, together with predicted grades as A Level or IBDP.


Wisdom on London's underground. Results are not everything... 

IGCSE Results in Hong Kong

Given the new, 'higher' standards, the results of Hong Kong students, detailed below, are all the more impressive. We will continue to add to this table as schools provide further data.

School No.of students % A*/9-8 % A*-A/9-7 % A*-C/9-4 Highest number of grades achieved by an individual student
California School          
Discovery Bay International School          
ESF Island School          
ESF King George V School          
ESF Sha Tin College   31% 58% 96%  
ESF South Island School 200 46% 57% 94%  
ESF West Island School          
French International School Blue Pool Road   33% 70% 93% 9 A*
German Swiss International School (The Peak campus)          
Han Academy          
Harrow International School   75% 89%   9 A*
International College Hong Kong Secondary          
Kellett School (Kowloon Bay) 75 60.30% 78.90% 96.80% 9 A*
Kent College Hong Kong OPENING 2020          
Kiangsu-Chekiang College, International Section (Secondary)          
Korean International School          
Nord Anglia International School, Hong Kong     55% 100%  
Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau          
Sear Rogers International School          
Singapore International School Hong Kong (Secondary)   47% 76%   11 A*
St Paul's Convent School (Secondary)          
St Paul’s College          
Think Academy          
Yew Chung International School Hong Kong (Secondary) 121 31% 40% 88% 10 A*
YMCA of HK Christian College          

The English Schools Foundation (ESF)

The English Schools Foundation (ESF) has five secondary schools across Hong Kong, and the largest number of IGCSE students collectively. 1,000 Year 11 students from ESF’s King George V School, Island School, Sha Tin College, South Island School and West Island School sat their I/GCSE exams in May. Across the five secondary schools, 56% of all examinations were awarded either A*-A grades and 95% were awarded A*-C grades.

So far only Sha Tin College and South Island School have published their individual results.

At Sha Tin College, 96% of grades were A*-C, and 98% of grades were 9 to 4.

STC vice principal Kellie Fagan said: "With the Senior School team on hand to continue their support, we trust that our students will celebrate their personal achievements, as well as the achievements of their peers. Many thanks to teachers and support staff, and importantly parents, who all played a significant role in the accomplishments of our students.

"Each student will have followed their own learning journey over the past five years, and we congratulate them all, and wish them continued success in their Y12 studies."

South Island School reported that 94% of its cohort of nearly 200 students achieved 5 or more A*-C / 9-4 grades; 13% of students achieved all grades as A*/A or 9-7; and the mean grade for subjects was A or 7.

While the school was keen to highlight that “Not everyone can get a top grade, or top grades would cease to have any meaning”, it did celebrate the achievements of its top-performing students. 57% of grades on the A*-G scale were A*/A, and 46% of grades on the 9-1 scale were 9 or 8. Two students – Ranen Pang and Adele Lo – scored top grades in every subject they sat.

South Island School principal Tom Vignoles said: We are extremely proud of the energy and effort that all of our students have put in to their studies, leading to another great set of outcomes.

"Whatever your grades, you have worked hard, and so many of you have achieved the ESF vision of ‘being the best that you can be’. You have built yourselves a very strong platform for your further studies at IBDP or IBCP, and we look forward to seeing you go on to even greater things in the next two years. Congratulations to every single student on their personal achievements.”

French International School

A record number of nearly half of French International School (FIS) students achieved 9 A*/A grades or more, with 25% being awarded 10 or more A*/A grades. Three students celebrated 9A* grades. More than one third of all IGCSE examinations taken by FIS students were awarded A*, almost 70% were awarded at A*/A and 93% were awarded at A*- C.

In addition, 28 FIS students were awarded the Cambridge International Certificate in Education (ICE) with 16 achieving distinction and 11 merit. This award honours learners who pass examinations in at least seven subjects from five different subject groups.

Head of the International Stream Ian Clayton said: “Congratulations to alI our 2019 IGCSE graduates! Their dedication and hard work over the last 2 years along with support provided by their teachers and parents have led them to achieve their own personal best. We are looking forward to welcoming them into Year 12.”

Kellett School

At Kellett School, one of only a few schools in Hong Kong to provide detailed results, 75 students sat their IGCSEs in May. 60.3% of results were graded A* (9/8), 78.9% were A*-A (7+), 89.6% were A*-B (5+), 96.8% were A*-C (4+), and 99.7% were graded A*-E (2+). 13 students received all A*/9-8 grades in all their exams, while three students received all A*/9 grades; 40% students achieved all A*-A/9-7 grades or better.

The vast majority of Kellett students will now take up a place in its Sixth Form to study A Levels.

Harrow International School Hong Kong

At Harrow International School Hong Kong, 50% of all grades were at the highest level 9. Almost 90% of all GCSE grades this year were 9-7/A*-A, with 75% at 9-8/A*.

Almost a third of Harrow students achieved nine 9s /A* grades or more and will be awarded honorary scholarships as they begin Year 12 at the school. More than two thirds of students achieved 9s in history, mathematics and physics, whilst more than 80% of all grades in biology, Chinese foreign language, French, physics and Spanish were 9-8.

Headteacher Ann Haydon said: “I am absolutely thrilled by our pupils’ performance. These are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our pupils, and also the commitment and guidance of our teaching staff who regularly go above and beyond to support, encourage and help bring out the best in our pupils. These results prove that Harrow Hong Kong is a world-class school.

“No pupil wakes up one day and achieves 9s and A*s without drive and motivation. Our GCSE pupils have achieved record-breaking results whilst immersing themselves in the 230+ Super-Curriculum and Co-Curricular activities that the school offers.”

Nord Anglia International School, Hong Kong

Nord Anglia’s first cohort of IGCSE students have set a strong standard to follow as 100% of students were awarded 5 or more A-C grades in their subjects, and 55% of grades were at the top level of A or A*.

Principal Brian Cooklin said: “It is very exciting as we reach a milestone in the development of the school. This year, it has been the results of our first IGCSE cohort. These are fantastic results which have been achieved as a result of the commitment and hard work of all the students and teachers.

“As teachers, we await the exam results with great anticipation – it gives us great satisfaction to see students succeed and, often, exceed our expectations. It is a validation of all the work and time invested in supporting them. Now we have to do the same for the new Year 11 students and for our IB Diploma cohort starting this year.”

Singapore International School Hong Kong (Secondary)

A total of 65 Secondary Four (S4) students at Singapore International School Hong Kong (Secondary) sat their IGCSEs in May, and 76% of the grades attained were A*-A, while 47% were A*. Two students achieved 11 A* while 16 students achieved 10 A*. 92% of students who took the maths IGCSE achieved A*.

Principal of SISHK Kelvin Tay said: “We are very proud of our students for their excellent performance. Our students truly live out our SISHK Spirit by doing the right thing and giving of their best. We would like to thank our parents for their support and our staff for bringing out the best in our students. We wish our students all the best as they continue their learning for life and strive for excellence!”

Yew Cheung International School

YCIS reported some strong results, with 40% of its 121-strong cohort being awarded A*-A, 31% at the top level of A*, and 88% achieving A*-C grades. Three students achieved 10A*/As, and four students scored 9A*/As.

Executive principal Martin Scott said, “Congratulations to all the Year 11 students and the school for their excellent achievements. Such results symbolize the success and commitment of YCIS’s unique educational approach in nurturing academically able students with bilingual proficiency, global and multi-cultural mindset and prepare them for the challenges in the 21st century.

“It is the collective efforts of the school, students, teachers and parents. We look forward to further developing and equipping our students as they move onto the IB Diploma Programme and further studies, and wish them all the very best.”

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