Today, more than half a million of pupils across the country are getting their results for GCSEs and vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) at level 2 and below, to secure their next steps into A Levels, T Levels, apprenticeships, or full-time work with training or further education.
This is the first year GCSE students have sat formal summer exams since the start of the pandemic. Because of the disruption pupils faced they were supported with a range of adaptations (link to hub) to support them.
For GCSEs, Ofqual’s approach to grading in 2022 reflects a midway point between summer 2019 and 2022. This means overall grades are higher than when summer exams were last sat in 2019 but lower than in 2021.
It’s important to say that because the approach to grading this year is different to previous years, it is not possible to draw direct comparisons between outcomes this year and other years. You can read more about Ofqual’s approach to grading this year here.
So, here's what the data tells us.
What does the data for GCSE grades show?
- For 16-year-olds in England, 75.3% of GCSE grades were at grade 4 or above, which is up from 69.9% in 2019 when formal exams last took place and down from 79.1% in 2021.
- Top grades have also increased on 2019, with 27.0% of entries achieving a grade 7 and above, up by 5.2 percentage points (ppt) in 2019, and 3.0ppt lower than 2021.
- In English, 77.2% achieved a grade 4 or above, a 6.7ppt increase on 2019 and 3.7ppt lower than in 2021.
- In maths, 75.1% achieved a grade 4 or above, a 3.7ppt increase on 2019 and 2.7ppt lower than 2021.
- The gap between grade 4 and above achieved at Independent schools vs Academies has narrowed from 18.1ppt in 2022, compared to 20.8% in 2019.
What about Level 2 and below VTQs?
- A total of 369,220 certificates across 141 qualifications awarded since March 2022, 96% of which are Technical Awards.
- The pattern of outcomes for the larger entry level 2 VTQs are similar to those seen at GCSE. And we are satisfied that VTQ students have not been advantaged or disadvantaged compared to their peers and that the broad policy intent on grading has been delivered.
What options are available to those students who didn’t get the grades they hoped for?
If students do not get the grades they hoped for or need for their next step, we encourage students to talk to their school or college for advice, and also the institution they are looking to progress to who may be able to be flexible.
School will be able to advise students on the reviews of marking/moderation process and will request a review of marking if they believe there has been an error in the exam board’s marking of any exam or non-exam assessment, or moderation of a teacher-marked assessment.
Any students who are unhappy with their GCSE English language or maths results can retake these two subjects in November 2022, or at a later date. For all other subjects, students can retake exams in the summer exam series in 2023.
If you did not get a grade 4 or above in GCSE English language or maths you will need to continue to study these subjects.
For students not sure about their next steps, where can they look?
We have a dedicated piece on What options are available for students after their GCSEs? - The Education Hub (blog.gov.uk) for options and guidance on options for their next step.