GCSE maths resit pass rate lower than pre-pandemic

But performance in English re-takes continues to rise

But performance in English re-takes continues to rise

The proportion of students passing GCSE resits 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 morningshows 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.

Students 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.

Eddie Playfair, senior policy manager at the Association of Colleges, said colleges have managed “dramatic growth” in retake numbers this year because a lower proportion of year 11 students at school achieved a grade 4 this summer. 

He added: “Each year, the November GCSE resit entries are only a subset of the total number resitting. November candidates will tend be those most likely to improve their grade quickly. The fact that so many more students have now achieved the required standard is a really positive sign for this year as a whole.”

More from this theme

GCSEs, resits, Results 2023

GCSE resits 2023: Maths and English pass rates down again

Results still off pre-pandemic levels due to 'a more changeable cohort' post-16

Billy Camden

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