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GCSE maths re-sit pass rate lower than pre-pandemic

The proportion of students passing GCSE re-sits in maths has fallen again this year and remains lower than pre-pandemic 2019.

November entry results published by the Joint Council for Qualifications this morning show 22.2 per cent of 17 to 19-year old maths re-sit entrants achieved a grade 4 or above in England, seen by the government as a standard pass.

This is a decrease of 8 per cent on last year, when 24.2 per cent achieved at least a standard pass, and down 16 per cent on pre-pandemic 2019, when the pass rate was 26.4 per cent.

However, the JCQ warned that “due to changing entry patterns and different assessment and grading arrangements over the last few years because of the pandemic, it is not possible to make meaningful comparisons between results this year and previous examination series”.

It comes after prime minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to replace A-levels with a new Advanced British Standard qualification that would require all pupils to study maths until 18.

At present, pupils who do not achieve a pass at GCSE already have to continue studying the subject at post-16.

The requirement is also in place for English, but pass rates in re-takes have been rising in that subject.

In 2023, 40.3 per cent of entrants achieved a grade 4, a 7 per cent increase on 2022 and a 24 per cent increase on 2019.

Entries for re-sits rose sharply in both subjects this year. There were 57,773 school-age maths entries, up 23 per cent on 2022, and 53,688 entries in English, up 37 per cent.

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