Winter 2018/19

The November exams include opportunities in: GCSE English Language, GCSE Welsh Language, GCSE Mathematics – Numeracy and GCSE Mathematics

We sent a letter to all schools and colleges setting out our approach to awarding the November series on 30 November 2018. We will be closely monitoring the awarding of these qualifications to ensure that the grade boundaries set by WJEC are appropriate and that the GCSE standard has been maintained.

Entries

We published the provisional entry data for the series on 29 November 2018

Overview of November 2018 GCSE Examination Results

November 2018 saw the award of GCSE English Language, GCSE Welsh Language, GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy. We published official statistics on November entries on Thursday 29 November 2018 which showed a substantial change in the entries in comparison to November 2017 (a drop of 59.1%). It’s likely that this large change in entries is partly a response to changes to performance measures by Welsh Government aimed at discouraging widespread early and multiple entry.

In previous November series, only students who were resitting could enter for GCSE English Language and GCSE Welsh Language. Following the Welsh Government announcement about changes to school performance measures from 2019, the entry restrictions for this series have been lifted.

We have closely monitored WJEC’s delivery of these new qualifications and are confident that standards have been maintained.

Headlines:

  • There were strong results in GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy compared to previous November series.
  • Results improved at A* and A in GCSE English Language compared to previous November series.
  • The profile of students sitting GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy this November was not representative of the whole cohort. Students entering these subjects early in November 2018 tended to be higher ability students.
  • In GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy the results for 17-year-olds resitting have declined.
  • There is a substantial drop in entry across all subjects compared to previous November series which makes it difficult to make meaningful year on year comparisons. 

GCSE Mathematics

GCSE Mathematics (All students, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2016

22,686

5.8

9.9

46.1

91.2

November 2017

21,881

5.3

10.6

45.8

91.5

November 2018

6,577

12.6

22.8

58.4

92.1

Each exam series has a different cohort of students, with a different overall profile of ability. The profile of students sitting this November was not representative of the whole cohort; this is to be expected in qualifications where there are multiple entry opportunities.

The number of students sitting GCSE Mathematics has changed substantially this November, when compared to November 2017. This November 73.4% of entries were from 16-year-olds (Year 11) which is down from 89.8% in November 2017.

There was a substantial increase in the proportion of students sitting the higher tier papers this November compared with November 2017 (37.3%, up from 24.6% last November). The results for 16-year-old students suggest that this November series is being used for higher ability mathematicians. This may have implications for the summer results as these higher ability mathematicians are unlikely to enter in the summer examinations, which may depress the summer results when compared to previous years.  

GCSE Mathematics (16-year-olds, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2016

21,774

5.9

10.1

47.0

92.1

November 2017

19,559

5.7

11.5

48.4

92.8

November 2018

4,887

16.8

30.1

68.9

94.6

GCSE Mathematics (17-year-olds, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2016

167

1.8

4.8

29.3

88.0

November 2017

1,324

0.8

2.3

28.9

93.4

November 2018

1,040

0.4

1.5

29.0

87.7

 

GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy

GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy (All students, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2016

28,753

5.6

12.3

46.1

88.5

November 2017

19,193

4.2

11.1

48.3

91.3

November 2018

11,931

7.4

17.7

57.6

92.7

The number of students sitting GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy has continued to fall when compared to November 2017 and November 2016, although not at the same rate as GCSE Mathematics. This November 96.3% of entries were from 16-year-olds (Year 11).

As for GCSE Mathematics, the profile of students sitting this November was not representative of the whole cohort; this is to be expected in qualifications where there are multiple entry opportunities.  There was an increase in the proportion of students sitting the higher tier papers this November compared with November 2017 (40.0% up from 28.0% last November).

GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy (16-year-olds, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2016

27,846

5.7

12.6

46.7

89.1

November 2017

18,119

4.3

11.5

49.9

92.6

November 2018

11,376

7.7

18.3

59.5

93.4

GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy (17-year-olds, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2016

124

6.5

9.7

33.1

88.7

November 2017

434

2.1

4.6

29.7

89.6

November 2018

308

1.9

4.5

20.8

85.1

 

GCSE English Language

GCSE English Language (All students, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2017

11,716

0.4

3.2

47.5

99.1

November 2018

3,290

1.8

6.4

38.6

98.2

The number of students sitting GCSE English Language has changed substantially this November, when compared to November 2017. In previous November series, only students who were resitting were allowed to enter for GCSE English Language.

This November 52.6% of entries were from 16-year-olds (year 11) compared to 88.3% in November 2017. 27.6% of candidates were 17-year-old students resitting the qualification this November compared to 8.7% in November 2017. However, the actual number of 17-year-old students resitting the qualification this November was smaller than November 2017 (875 in November 2018 and 1,018 in November 2017).

GCSE English Language (16-year-olds, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2017

10,065

0.5

3.6

49.8

99.8

November 2018

1,632

3.6

11.8

49.9

98.9

GCSE English Language (17-year-olds, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2017

1,083

0.3

1.6

44.0

100.0

November 2018

912

0.0

1.1

30.8

100.0

 

GCSE Welsh Language

GCSE Welsh Language (All students, cumulative percentages)

Examination Series

Number sat

A*

A*-A

A*-C

A*-G

November 2017

502

0.4

7.8

52.0

99.4

November 2018

185

0.0

3.2

33.5

99.5

Overall, the changes to the entry for GCSE Welsh Language this November compared to November 2017 make it difficult to make meaningful comparisons between the two sets of results.

A summary of the results is available on the WJEC website.