Breakdown Of The 2017 Reformed GCSE Results

Breakdown Of The 2017 Reformed GCSE Results

Finally, the 2017 GCSE results are out. Indeed, it is the first year of the reformed GCSEs in maths and English. The changes that were ushered in by the Conservative government introduced a numeric grading system. Certainly, the first cohort of those who took the exam has already received their grades numbering 1-9 in English literature, English and maths with the rest of the subjects expected to transition in 2020. Northern Ireland and Wales are affecting the changes to their GCSEs too, but unlike England, they will maintain the traditional grading scale.

Subject Analysis

French and German recorded a fall of 12% and 10% respectively. Clearly, the requirement of the English baccalaureate has failed to stop the decline of students pursuing foreign languages at GCSE. However, there was an increase in the number of students taking physics. 141,977 students sat for the physics exam, a 1.6% increase from 2016. This means that the subject now constitutes 3.8% of all the papers sat, and this is a 2.7% increase from last year.

Moreover, in England, there was a fall in good GSCE passes. Results in history, geography and maths were broadly weak as compared to last year. Of course, the complex outlook was due to the evolving patterns of entries and the phenomenal increase in the numbers of those taking the exam as schools made adjustments to the new process.

Also, in North Ireland, the proportion of students scoring grades A to C was slightly high. Girls outperformed boys in the province. 84% of girls managed to obtain A to C grades while the corresponding figure for boys was slightly above 75%.

Independent schools

Some of the prominent independent schools in Britain are adopting the new grading system for GCSE. Of course, this is mainly due to the fears that universities are likely to favour students awarded the numeric grades as opposed to the alphabets. Indeed, the reformed system was introduced to combat incidents of grade inflation, prevalent in the previous years. Furthermore, several private schools and state secondaries are happy to adopt the new grading system. Also, independent heads have been quite reluctant to apt the new system and have continued to offer IGCSEs which award A*-G. grades.

Exam Boards

Edexcel, a leading examiner, is changing to the numeric grading system in maths and English. Additionally, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) will also award the grades in most of its courses. Thus, this shift is due to the independent schools that want to ditch IGCSEs if exam boards fail to adopt the new system. Many independents view the new grade 9 as the benchmark for judging top candidates henceforth.


Universities have now clarified on the minimum grades they require from candidates with these new qualifications. But, it isn’t yet clear whether they will take grade 9 to be superior to an A*. What is clear is that the new grade 9 is likely to become the benchmark that will sift out the brightest from the best.

If you’d like to pass the GCSE, book our Term Courses now. We always guarantee excellent results to our students.

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