GCSE resit students' English and maths grades rise

Over a third of resits students improved their grade and, on average, students made progress in both English and maths

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GCSE resit students managed to, on average, improve their grade in both English and maths for the first time this year.

New provisional 16-18 exam results data published by the Department for Education looks at the subsequent performance of students who, at the end of key stage 4, had not achieved a grade 4 (or C under the legacy qualifications).

The data shows that the average progress based on a student’s point score (calculated using grades) stood at 0.08 in English, up from 0.00 in 2017, and 0.07 in maths, compared to 0.02 in 2017.

Positive GCSE resits results

“This means that for the first time since the measures were introduced in 2016, on average students’ point scores were positive during 16-18 studies in both English and maths”, the report states. A contributing factor behind the increase is the rise in students who entered an approved qualification: students that do not enter any approved exams during 16-18 study automatically score -1 for the progress measure.

The report continues: “The proportion of students who improved their grade during 16-18 in English and maths has continued to increase since 2016. In 2018, 37.2 per cent and 38.6 per cent improved their grade (point score) in English and maths respectively, which increased by 2.8 and 1.3 percentage points compared to 2017.”

Under the condition of funding, students who obtained a grade 3 or D at school in English or maths are required to retake the qualification at college.

Figures 'don't do colleges justice'

While there have been widespread calls to scrap the current resit policy, education secretary Damian Hinds said in June that he had no changes to the policy to announce.

Catherine Sezen, senior policy manager at the Association of Colleges, said: “It’s great that 16-18 English and maths progress has increased, but the current progress measures still do not do justice to the hard work colleges and staff do to help students attain the skills needed to enhance their career prospects.  AoC and colleges would like to see progress measures which give value to both GCSEs and functional skills.’’

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