- 10 updates
Thousands of students across Wales got their GCSE results today, with some interesting results.
The number of pupils achieving the top grades of A*-C has risen by nearly one per cent from last year. The overall pass rate of A*-E fell in the same period.
One of the results being scrutinised was the new English Language qualification, which caused much controversy when the January exam gave unexpectedly low results.
Nicola Hendy reports.
The National Union of Teachers has praised teachers for 'ensuring such high standards' despite changes to GCSEs this year.
NUT Wales policy officer Owen Hathway said the past year has not been 'the easiest' for teachers or pupils but they have still delivered the highest A*-C pass rate ever achieved in Wales.
Record numbers of pupils have received the intermediate diploma in the Welsh Baccalaureate.
11,784 pupils passed, more than 1,000 more than last year, as the pass rate also increased from 79 per cent to 85.7 per cent.
At foundation level, 1,757 pupils passed, a fall from last year, but the pass rate rose to 83.3 per cent.
The Welsh Bac. will play an increasing important role from September 2015, becoming the overarching framework for 14 to 19-year-olds' qualifications in Wales, under Welsh Government changes.
The Welsh Government says today's GCSE English language results show pupils have "achieved comparable outcomes to those in summer 2013", which is "especially pleasing" following unexpectedly low marks in January units.
Education Minister Huw Lewis also said overall results "signal a historic high point", with 66.6 per cent of pupils receiving A* - C grades the highest proportion ever in Wales.
He said the Welsh Government would be looking careful at maths results, after a fall in the proportion of pupils getting A* or A grades from 12 per cent to 10.3 per cent - and a fall in the proportion getting A* - C grades from 52.8 per cent to 50.6 per cent.
Wales has continued to close the gap on the rest of the UK in overall GCSE results, with a higher proportion of pupils here achieving A* - C grades, and top grades.
The overall pass rate has fallen in Wales, but also across the UK, to reach the same level at 98.5 per cent.
Ofqual, the exam regulator in England, has warned that English pupils should expect 'variability' in results, due to changes to changes to the exam system - with a shift to final exams rather than modular units.
Those changes have not happened in Wales.
Overall GCSE results 2014:
- In Wales, 19.4% received A* or A - up from 19.2% last year
- Across UK, 21.3% received A* or A - the same as last year
- In Wales, 66.6% received A* - C - up from 65.7% last year
- Across UK, 68.8% received A* - C - up from 68.1% last year
- In Wales, 98.5% received A* - E - down from 98.7% last year
- Across UK, 98.5% received A* - E - down from 98.8% last year
Results in a new GCSE English language qualification for Welsh pupils are slightly down on grades from last year, after controversy surrounding shock low marks in January exams.
The exam board WJEC says English language results have "remained stable" between 2013 and 2014 for 16-year-olds, and attributed drops overall to lower results for pupils aged 15 and 17.
WJEC does acknowledge "some centres have experienced variability in their results" - with a number of schools seeing either significant rises - or falls - in the proportion of pupils achieving A*-C grades compared to last year.
GCSE English language results 2014:
- A* - A: 11.6% (down from 11.9% last year)
- A* - C: 58% (down from 59.6% last year)
- A* - G: 98.9% (down from 99% last year)
- 13.7% of centres saw decrease of over 10 percentage points in proportion of pupils aged 16 achieving A* - C, compared to 2013
- 15.1% of centres saw increase of over 10 percentage points in proportion of pupils aged 16 achieving A* - C, compared to 2013
Pupils receiving their results today are the first to complete a new Wales-only GCSE in English language, introduced after a row between Welsh and UK governments over the regrading of exams in 2012 where pupils were claimed to have been unfairly disadvantaged.
More than 20,000 Welsh pupils took at least one unit of the new GCSE in January, with added emphasis on spelling, grammar and punctuation - but over 100 schools reported unexpectedly low grades.
The Welsh Government and WJEC initiated reviews which found no single factor caused the grades, and ITV News revealed 90% of pupils who sat exams in January were entered to re-sit in the summer.
The Welsh Government has continued to insist this year's pupils will not be disadvantaged compared to previous years when receiving final results.
The Welsh Government has again stated that it expects GCSE English language results released later to be comparable with last year's results, "unless there were compelling reasons for a different outcome."
Exam board WJEC has also confirmed that a statistical approach known as 'comparable outcomes' has been used, aiming to make sure pupils are given equivalent grades from one year to the next.
Thousands of students will pick up their GCSE results later this morning, with many paying close attention to their English Language marks. It comes after 90% of students had to re-sit units from their January exams.
There are warnings that some pupils will suffer, but both the Welsh Government and exam board WJEC have pledged this year's pupils will not be disadvantaged.
More than 30,000 students across Wales are waiting to receive their GCSE results.
For many young people the focus will be on their GCSE English language results, after thousands received shock low grades in their January exams - more than 90% who sat the units in January entered to re-sit them this summer.
An ITV News investigation also found that there were divisions between the exam regulator, the Welsh Government and the exam board WJEC when the new GCSE was accredited in 2012.
The new English language GCSE, especially for pupils in Wales, was created after papers were regraded in 2012.
But there are warnings today that some pupils will suffer after January's results.
The Welsh Government and WJEC both produced reports looking into what went wrong, with no clear answer. They have both pledged that this year's pupils will not be disadvantaged, compared to previous years.
After weeks of waiting, thousands of pupils across Wales are getting their GCSE results today.
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