GCSE and IGCSE Results: What to Expect...

Once again, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has reached out to schools around the UAE, in order to share the success of students as they receive their GCSE and IGCSE results. Before they arrive, however, perhaps temper your expectations... A correction on last year's record results is almost a certainty.
GCSE and IGCSE Results: What to Expect...
By Lyn Soppelsa
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Inevitably, with this year’s students being the first to sit examinations in full since 2019, a great deal of the focus has been on those who were due to receive their A Level and International Baccalaureate results this summer.  Much has been made of the impact of online learning as a result of Covid 19 and the disruption that Year 13 and Grade 12 students suffered as a result of the pandemic.

However, the same is equally true for this year’s GCSE and IGCSE students, who also had two years of disrupted education.  And given that the outcome of these exams will signal for many students the studies they will be able to follow for their final two years of school, they are also incredibly important.

In the lead up to the results for A Levels, BTEC (and IB Diploma, and Career-related Programme), there was considerable speculation about how the ‘grade inflation’ seen since 2019 would be addressed. The Exams Regulator in the UK, OFQUAL, and the International Baccalaureate Organisation had clearly signalled that steps would be taken to reduce grades to roughly a mid-point between the 2019 results (when students last sat examinations) and the grades for 2021, which were significantly higher as a result exam grades having been allocated by students’ schools for two years in a row.

Last Thursday’s A Level results awarded in England, Wales and Northern Ireland revealed top grades down by 8.4 percentage points on last year’s record results, while A*s alone decreased by 4.5 points, in line with government plans to bring results gradually back to pre-pandemic levels.

In England just under 36% of A-level entries gained A* and A grades in 2022, compared with 44.3% in 2021. The number of top-performing students achieving the highest grades of three A*s at A-level has also gone down, from 12,865 last year to 8,570.  However, results overall were higher than pre-pandemic levels, with the proportion of A*s and As up from 25.4% in 2019 to 36.4% in 2022, and in the three years since exams were last sat the share of A*s has gone up by almost seven percentage points, from 7.7% to 14.6%. 

Given that the Exam Boards clearly did follow through on the demand to start out on a path back towards the pre-pandemic results, a similar picture is expected for this year’s GCSE and IGCSE examinations with a record fall expected this week

According to analysis by Professor Alan Smithers, of the University of Buckingham’s Centre for Education and Employment Research, the number of results awarded Grades 9 to 7, the equivalent of A* or A, is set to fall by 230,000 compared to last year. Such a drop would impact results for an estimated 75,000 of students, who would have received top grades last year.  

The sharpest decline is expected to be seen in Grade 9s, which rose by 64 per cent between 2019 and 2021. Reducing the proportion awarded by half would mean 76,000 fewer being awarded than last year. About a quarter of all grades awarded this year are expected to be Grade 7 and above, down from almost a third last year. This will still be higher than in 2019, when around a fifth of results received the top grades. Last year’s pass rate of 77.1 per cent is expected to fall to 72.2 per cent, which would still be significantly higher than the 67.3 per cent pass rate seen in 2019.            

Will these expectations be borne out by the results of students across the UAE? That, of course, remains to be seen, but based on the A Level and BTEC results of a week ago we are at least very hopeful that UAE students will do rather better than their UK counterparts...

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