Just over half of students achieved the gold standard A* to C grades in GCSE exams sat in Wales in November, results out today from exam board WJEC show.
Top grades were down and girls did slightly better than boys overall. There was a 97% pass rate (A* to E) in the four GCSE subjects taken, maths, maths numeracy than English and Welsh language.
November’s GCSEs were the first set of WJEC external exams sat by students, rather than having grades assessed, since the the pandemic began.
Candidates sat the autumn series as re-sits or early entry just two months after schools re-opened and in the middle of ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic and class year closures.
Only a little over 5,100 pupils sat GCSEs in November, so it is hard to compare or say how representative results are..
No candidate got the top A* or A grades for Welsh language GCSE taken in November and only four in 10 pupils got at least a C in GCSE English language (39.3%).
Data from the WJEC show less than 50 candidates sat Welsh language GCSE in November. None got an A* or A and just 8.3% achieved a B grade. Cumulatively 58.3% achieved at least a C, which was better than for English language.
Just four in 10 of the 1,000 sitting English language GCSE got at least a C (39.3%) with 0.3% achieving A* and 3.4% an A* to A.
More top grades were awarded for maths and maths numeracy with more candidates sitting those exams too.
More than one in five taking maths obtained the top A* grade (21%) but that fell to 15.6% for maths numeracy.
Overall 65.7% got the gold standard A* to C for maths numeracy compared with 49.7% for maths.
A total 2,350 candidates sat maths and 1,772 maths numeracy.
Looking at all four exams girls did slightly better than boys overall with 14.7% of boys achieving A* compared with 15.5% of girls.
Results were also similar for A* to Cs, with 52.5% of boys getting at least a C and 53.9% of girls overall.
All GCSEs, AS and A level exams this summer have been cancelled for a second year, but a decision was reached to hold November’s series. The January series was cancelled after those papers were sat.
Assessments due to be taken this term to help arrive at this year’s AS and A level and GCSEs have been cancelled with schools closed again, probably until half term.
Discussions are being held now to decide whether it would be fair to hold assessments scheduled for next term or whether to return to the method used last year to arrive at grades.
Results for 2020 were finally awarded on Centre Assessed Grades (based on previous work, exams and teacher assessments) after a row over a standardising algorithm saw results for thousands of papers downgraded.
More than one in four GCSEs in Wales last summer were graded A* and 99% passed, but it is difficult to compare that with November’s results for several reasons, among them, only a tiny number of students sat November GCSEs as re-sits or early entry. Summer results were for all subjects, not just four, and most were not re-sits or early entries. Grades were arrived at by Centre Assessed Grades and papers were not sat.
Exams for some vocational subjects have been run by other awarding bodies and sat by candidates in Wales, including Btechs earlier this month, but no WJEC exams have been sat
November GCSE results with cumulative percentage of candidates at grade:
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk