GCSE results: English language 'comparable' as gap closes

Thousands of pupils around Wales are receiving their GCSE grades. Overall, Wales is continuing to close the gap with the rest of the UK. For English language, after shock low grades in January, the Welsh Government says final results are 'comparable' to last year, with only small falls.

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GCSE English language results 'stable' with 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.

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